Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kentucky Hot Browns

What's better than a hot, open-faced turkey sandwich?
A hot, open-faced turkey sandwich smothered in a thick homemade white cheddar cheese sauce, that's what.

I'll admit, this recipe is a tad involved. But I promise you, the moment this molten cheese lava  hits your taste buds, you will no longer care about how much time you just spent in the kitchen.

The first time I tried Kentucky Hot Browns, I cursed the parental units for not raising us in the South (and then again when I recently discovered chocolate gravy with biscuits). Seriously, if you had the luxury of eating these while growing up, I envy you. Instead, being raised in good ol' Wyoming, I was afforded the opportunity of sampling Rocky Mountain Oysters countless times over my childhood. What a treat huh?

For those of you not familiar with Rocky Mountain Oysters, they are the farthest thing from seafood. HA!! Oh no my friends, they are the snipped, battered and deep-fried manhood of some very unlucky steers. Tasty.

But enough about nasty things, on to cheesy greatness!!

Obviously, I'm a cheese-with-every-meal kinda gal (hence my blog name ;) Virtually since I was evicted from the womb, I just can't get excited about a meal unless there is an appearance by my jiggly-thigh inducing friend, Mr. Queso.

Honestly, my mom was probably forced to resort to dipping my bottles into cheese dip before feedings.

But while the cheese sauce is the undeniable star in this dish, pairing it with juicy, roasted turkey breast; thick-sliced, buttery toast; and slab bacon puts it so over-the-top, it's in outer space.

Kentucky Hot Browns
(makes 8 sandwiches)

- 1 turkey breast (3 pound)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper, spices to taste

Cheese Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 and 1/2 cups whole milk
 - 2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup bacon grease
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper, spices to taste (I used garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne)

- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- salt and garlic powder
- 8 super thick slices of white bread (texas toast is fine)
- 8 tablespoons butter

- 16 thick slices of bacon, cooked crispy style
- 1/2 cup parmesan
(optional) 1 ripe beefsteak tomato, sliced and charred slightly

First, rub the turkey breast down with the butter and season. Roast breast in a roasting pan at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast until the center is cooked through (1 and 1/2-2 hours). Remove from oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
1 hour after you get the breast into the oven, start making the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk the flour in and cook for 1 minute. Next, whisk the milk in and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly until the flour has cooked out, about 4 minutes (sauce will also thicken). Now whisk in the white cheddar and parmesan and cook until melted. Pour the hot bacon grease in and mix. Last, season with S and P, nutmeg, and spices to taste.
Now for the toast!! In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and salt together. Place each slice of bread face down into egg mixture, let sit for 5 seconds, flip and repeat. The bread should almost soak through with the egg mixture. Be careful not to make the slices soggy!! In a medium saute pan heat 2 tablespoons butter. Place 2 slices of the bread onto the pan and cook until golden brown and slightly crisp on both sides. Repeat with remaining bread. Keep adding 2 tablespoons of butter to pan for every 2 slices of bread.
Place browned bread slices onto a rimmed cookie sheet and broil in oven for 30 seconds to warm through. By now your turkey should be rested and ready to slice. Place 2-3 thick slices of turkey onto each slice of toast and 1 slice tomato (if using). Ladle the cheese sauce over the top of each slice, and sprinkle with parmesan. Cook under broiler until top is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven, top with 2 slices bacon and serve hot!!

(adapted from Bobby Flay himself)