In the 1920s, dinner dances at Louisville's Brown Hotel drew more than 1,000 guests. During band breaks, hungry revelers refueled on chef Fred Schmidt's late-night eats. His signature? The Kentucky Hot Brown, a pillowy cushion of toasted bread topped with sliced turkey and an avalanche of Mornay sauce-all broiled until golden brown. Crisp bacon strips and tomato added the final flourish.
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Kentucky Hot Browns
4 thick white bread slices
3/4 pound sliced roasted turkey
1 cup (4-oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
8 bacon slices, cooked
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1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and broil 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until toasted.
2. Arrange bread slices in 4 lightly greased broiler-safe individual baking dishes. Top bread with turkey slices. Pour hot Mornay Sauce over turkey. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
3. Broil 6 inches from heat 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned; remove from oven. Top sandwiches with tomatoes and bacon. Serve immediately.
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1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup (2-oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
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Melt butter in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
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