The Kentucky Hot Brown - an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon and Mornay sauce and then baked until the bread is crispy and the cheesy sauce browns - is not actually named after the finished product's coloring. It was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1920's.You don't need to make a special roasted turkey breast for these sandwiches; slices of leftover roasted turkey are equally as scrumptious.
Recipe courtesy of Santos Loo
Kentucky Hot Browns
1 hr 30 min
15 min
1 hr 15 min
4 open-faced sandwiches
1 hr 30 min
15 min
1 hr 15 min
4 open-faced sandwiches


  • One 2-pound boneless turkey breast half, skin-on
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Mornay Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp yellow Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino
  • Four 3/4-inch-thick slices white bread, toasted
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • Pinch sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 slices cooked bacon


For the turkey: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper over the whole turkey breast. Place on a roasting pan and cook until it begins to brown, about 50 minutes. Raise the temperature to 400 degrees F and roast until the skin is golden brown and crispy and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the breast reads 165 degrees F, about 15 minutes more. Remove the turkey from the oven and let cool. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. 

For the mornay sauce: Cook the butter and flour over medium heat in a pot, stirring continuously for 5 minutes; the roux will be pale gold in color. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the milk. Whisk until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Cheddar, pecorino and nutmeg. 

For the sandwich: Preheat the broiler. Assemble the hot brown by laying the toast down in a large pan. Divide the sliced turkey over the top. Layer with the tomatoes, mornay sauce and pecorino. Place the pan under the broiler until the sauce is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with the paprika and parsley and top with the bacon.

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