Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kentucky HOT BROWN... Well, the Kansas Version

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Yet another sandwich in my series, "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken".  But this one is FANTASTIC, and so full of flavors and extras that it ranks very high on the list.

The origins for the original version of this sandwich date back to the 1920's.  The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky traces this sandwich back to the days of the roaring 20's, a regular crowd of 1,200 guests would attend their dinner/dance.  According to the hotel website,...
In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were growing rapidly bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. Exemplifying our unending dedication to serving our guests, The Hot Brown was born!
As a veteran of more than one dance party (my youth was in the disco era, you should have seen my hustle... but I digress)... As a veteran of more than a few dance parties, I can tell you that this makes a FANTASTIC filler to soak up that over-served alcohol haze before heading home.

If you follow this link, you will see the Brown Hotel website with the history and recipe for the dish.  You can find links to the dish being featured on Man vs Food, as well as the Today Show and various magazines.  I also saw this featured on Bobby Flay's Throwdown series on the Food Network.  I made a few changes, not the least is the use of breast meat from a beloved Rotisserie Chicken in place of the classic Turkey.  I also decided (inspired by Bobby Flay's take on the dish) to make this a breakfast dish in place of a late night meal.  SO, in place of the fancy crustless toast they serve, I made mine with French Toast.

But the basics of the dish are there...
Bird meat (mine from a Rotisserie Chicken)
A Mornay Sauce
All broiled to make it hot and bubbly and delicious!

So, here's what I did...

First... make the French Toast...

French Toast

  • 2 Large Slices Texas Toast size Fresh Baked Bread (I make a bowl shaped loaf and use slices from the center for presentation... LONG), sliced about 1 inch thick, After the slices are cut, allow to air dry out for about an hour (or dry out in the oven set low for a few minutes. Dry bread makes better French Toast, absorbs the eggy cream better)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk (or Half and Half for a richer taste)
  • 1 Pinch Nutmeg
  • 2 TBS Butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat a large frying pan and melt the butter to just before it starts to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and milk
  3. HINT, dry bread absorbs the egg/milk mixture better. If you have the time, slice the bread and leave out to air dry over night. If not, 10 minutes in the oven, set on 200 degrees will make a difference.
  4. Soak the bread in the egg/milk mixture, both sides
  5. Fry for about 4 minute per side in the butter until toasted golden brown and delicious.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on the top.!
Of course, if you like, the original recipe simply uses thick slices of white bread toast, crusts removed.  For me, the French Toast made this over the top EXCELLENT as a breakfast.

Next, it is time to make the sandwich...

Kansas Hot Brown

  • 2 Slices Thick Cut French Toast
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken Brest, sliced
  • 4 Slices Tomatoes
  • 6 Slices Bacon, Fried, 4 slices leave whole, 1 slice each sandwich cut into ribbons as a garnish
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • 3 TBS Flour
  • 1 Cup Half and Half or Heavy Cream (could use whole milk or even 2 %, but will be thinner sauce)
  • 1 Cup Grated Chedder Cheese, divided 3/4 and 1/4
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
Cooking Directions
  1. In a heavy frying pan, fry up the bacon crispy. Take two slices and cut into thin strips to use as garnish
  2. Pour out the bacon fat, reserving a thin coating on the bottom, add the tomato slices in the pan and fry until warm but not mushy. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Meanwhile, make a roux. Melt the butter in a heavy bottom saute pan. Add the flour and stir to combine. You are making a light roux, so only cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the Half and Half (or cream for an extra richness) and heat.
  5. Add 3/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese and continue stirring until the cheese has melted.
  6. The sauce should be thickening at this stage. continue to stir until you get the desired thickness.
  7. Turn on broiler and select 2 oven safe serving plates.
  8. Lay out one slice of French toast on each plate
  9. Top with chicken slices
  10. Top those with tomato slices
  11. Top those with 2 slices of bacon each
  12. Pour the cheesy Mornay sauce all over the sandwich, top the sauce with unmelted 1/4 cup grated cheddar and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  13. Heat under broiler for about 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the top is starting to brown.
  14. add a pinch of salt and a pinch of Nutmeg.
  15. Garnish with the remaining bacon strips
  16. Serve the warm plates and ENJOY!
One heck of a breakfast.  Will stick to your ribs all morning long.  And in the spirit of the roaring 20's, will certainly help you get on your feet if you were over served!

Here's a few photos of the process...


This simple recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Breakfast Ideas!"

It's the most important meal of the day.  From fancy to simple, there are always ways to dress up a breakfast dish.  These are the meals that make Bed and Breakfast Inns legendary (and usually easier than you think).

Here's your chance to make your guests Ooh and Aah!

This recipe has also been added to my growing list of "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken"  (Now close to 100!)...I am so confused... $5.49 for a fully cooked, fully seasoned Oven Roasted, Rotisserie Chicken. Yet shop in the raw meat department and most raw chickens are at best $8 each and usually far closer to $10. Anyone have an answer??? Me either. So, I can either rail against the machine, or learn to embrace the beauty that is the $5 chicken! In this pin are recipes I have made, and recommend. MORE than 52 (I just can't stop)..
You get the idea.  From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking).  More than enough ideas for that store nought bird to shine with just a little extra work


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