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Mini Hot Browns

Happy Derby Day, y’all!

Like most non-veg*ans, I like bacon. A lot. Certainly at least as much as the next guy. But like some others, I am a bit over the baconization of the foodie Internets. Bacon is strong mojo. Like a psychedelic drug, it should be used with great care and respect. You can’t just use bacon for bacon’s sake. Mark my words, the day the Bacon Explosion exploded all over the web was the day bacon jumped the shark.

But bacon still has and will forever have its time and place. It is, after all, one of the high holy trinity that is B, L and T. It is also a seminal ingredient in the most quintessential Kentuckian sandwich, the Hot Brown.

This open-faced sandwich, created by chef Fred Schmidt at Louisville’s Brown Hotel in 1928, is not diet food. By modern standards, the Hot Brown’s combination of bread, turkey, cheese sauce and bacon is a total hot mess. But hey, all things in moderation, right? If you miniaturize them down to passed hors d’oeuvre size, each wee morsel is just a palpitation compared to the full-on heart stopper of a whole one.

And yes, they do taste just a little better when you’re wearing your big ol’ floppy Holly Golightly hat and a sundress, washed down with a mint julep. But doesn’t everything?

Mini Hot Browns

Adapted from A Love Affair with Southern Cooking: Recipes and Recollections, by Jean Anderson

24 slices party rye
1 lb deli-sliced roast turkey
4 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large egg, well beaten *
1-1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra
1 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
4 slices bacon

Preheat the broiler with a rack 3-4 inches below.

Cook the bacon until crisp (I baked mine off in the oven on a broiler rack). Allow to cool, then chop to 1/4″ pieces. Set aside.

Lay the rye slices out on cooling racks in half-sheet pans. Toast under the broiler on both sides until lightly browned. Let cool. Fold or tear slices of turkey to fit the toasts and lay on top. 

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk until incorporated. Pour in the milk and whisk to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Pour a small amount of the hot liquid to the egg and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture back into the sauce, again whisking. Do not allow the sauce to boil. Stir for one more minute. Off heat, add the cheese and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the sauce over the turkey on the toasts. Sprinkle bacon pieces over the top. Grate some more parm over the top of all slices. Toast under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until bubbling and browned. Serve immediately.

* I trust our locally sourced, farm-fresh eggs, but if you are concerned about salmonella please do use pasteurized eggs. The sauce may not reach the 140ΒΊ necessary to ensure total elimination of the salmonella bacteria.

More Kentucky goodness:

It ain’t Kentucky without some good old fashioned mutton barbecue.

Gotta have your bourbon balls. Rebecca Ruth, please. 

Don’t forget to whip up a refreshing mint julep. (Or better yet, a Thin Mint julep.) And then poach some peaches in it. 

Related:

Props to Amy for giving us this cookbook that we keep coming back to again and again.

Prudence Pennywise has a Hot Brown plate! WANT.

The Paupered Chef takes on the Louisville Courier-Journal’s version.

  • Hm, maybe I don’t want it that bad.

  • Oh man, these were so delicious, and they certainly took the edge off the juleps! I think we happen to have rye bread and turkey breast in the freezer — these are going on the short list of decadent dinners. πŸ™‚

  • The whole Derby thing passed me by, but these mini hot browns could stay in my repertoire forever. What’s not to love here?

  • Oh my, I would love to have this on Derby day! Or any other day for that matter. Sounds amazing.

  • Holy cow!! These look delicious Sean!!! Yum. I wish I could have helped taste-test them! πŸ™‚

  • Anita: You ain’t seen decadent until you’ve seen the full-size version of these things.
    Lydia: They are hard not to love, it’s true.
    Kalyn: South Beach friendly they are not, but tasty they are.
    Vanessa: We’ll have to have you up soon!

  • Those looks so cute. Anything is better when in moderation, unless you sit and eat the whole tray, which could happen. ‘-)

  • Thanks for making me hungry! You’ve received a “Make Me Hungry Award”.
    http://slocooking.blogspot.com/2009/05/first-ever-make-me-hungry-awards.html

  • Wicked!!!
    I have been on a real decadent kick lately, and the shameful evidence is all over my blog. This is the last thing I need.
    Oh, but they do look so good. And, there is that smaller portion option, after all…
    So. Very. Wicked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And, that’s why I want it. πŸ˜‰
    XOXOXOXOX,
    ~ Paula

  • Single guy: Yes, yes it could.
    Heather: Thank you! I’m honored!
    Paula: I never pretended to be virtuous. πŸ™‚