Like most of you, I relish Thanksgiving leftovers. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey legs all possess a greater depth of flavor the next day. But white meat turkey always seems to taste worse the following morning. In my mind, consuming leftover turkey breast is up there with finishing day-old fish. To help matters, I decided to try a regional dish I've always wanted to make: the legendary Kentucky Hot Brown. This warm sandwich, created at the Brown Hotel in 1926, is an open-faced wonder of roasted turkey, bacon, and tomatoes on fat toast, drizzled with luscious Mornay sauce. Nearly a century later, there are many variations, but I returned to the original, a move I don't regret. I love how the creamy, nutty Pecorino cheese sauce offsets the lean tone of turkey breast. For a Thanksgiving leftover idea you'll be making for years to come, keep reading.

Kentucky Hot Brown

Kentucky Hot Brown


  1. 2 oz. whole butter
  2. 2 oz. all-purpose flour
  3. 1 quart heavy cream
  4. 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  5. Salt & pepper
  6. 14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast
  7. 2 slices Texas toast (or any thick-sliced toast), crust trimmed
  8. 4 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp
  9. 2 tomatoes, sliced or halved
  10. Paprika and chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For each hot brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Serves 2.

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