Thanksgiving Leftovers: Hot Brown
In most cases, I believe Thanksgiving leftovers should be generally left un-fussed-with, just reheated and eaten. You won’t catch me trying to cram turkey and stuffing and some spices that don’t belong with them into a samosa or attempting to turn green-bean casserole into anything other than green bean casserole. But let’s face it, there is going to be some lingering turkey (even if you just made a breast and not a whole bird like I told you to!) and after the gravy is gone, it’s tough to get enthusiastic about another turkey-and-cran sandwich. That’s where the Hot Brown comes in.
Invented as a late-night snack at the legendary Brown Hotel in Louisville, this is my hands-down favorite thing to do with leftover roast turkey: top it with bacon and tomato and smother it in cheese sauce.
Yeah, this is not health food. But what holiday favorite is actually good for you? Extend your vacation one more day with the Kitchenette version of this Kentucky classic. You can have a salad for lunch tomorrow.
The authentic recipe for the Hot Brown is readily available, so this is my own, slightly smokier, take on it. I’ve had Hot Browns at the Brown hotel and I swear that sometimes the bacon is under the cheese sauce (comforting and delicious) and sometimes it’s crossed on top after the broiling (also delicious but somehow fancier). You can be as fancy as you want.
Kitchenette Hot Brown
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
¾ cup whole milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/4 cup shredded smoked Gouda
1/2 tsp Tabasco, or to taste (optional)
2 thick slices wheat bread, toasted and crusts cut off
4 thick slices leftover turkey
4 slices crispy bacon
2 slices tomato
Preheat the broiler.
Melt the butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk together to form a paste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown slightly and smells nutty. Whisk milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until it just begins to simmer, about 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, add cheeses and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with Tabasco (if desired), salt and pepper. Keep warm while assembling Hot Browns.
On two separate, oven-safe plates, stack toast points, then turkey, then tomato slices, then bacon. Pour half the cheese sauce on top, completely covering each stacked “sandwich,” sprinkle with additional Parmesean and place under the broiler until browned and bubbly, about 3 minutes.
Serve immediately, (remembering the plate is h o t!).