Chef John Folse: Kentucky derby hot brown sandwich

Updated: May. 4, 2018 at 10:07 AM CDT
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(WVUE) - The state of Kentucky is famous for many things, including its horse races, burgoo and bourbon, just to name a few. There is an open-faced turkey sandwich that originated in Louisville at the Brown Hotel. Chef Fred K. Schmidt created the first recipe in 1926. Today, the Brown Hotel still serves up about 800 of these sandwiches per week.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Yields: 4 Servings


½ pound cooked turkey breast, sliced thinly

4 slices of homemade-type white bread, toasted lightly

1½ tsps finely chopped onion

1½ tbsps unsalted butter

2 tbsps all-purpose flour

1½ cups scalded milk

salt and black pepper to taste

cayenne to taste

1 tbsp dry sherry

¾ cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar

4 thin slices tomato

8 slices cooked bacon

1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat broiler to high. In a small saucepan, cook onion in butter over low heat until it is softened, stirring occasionally. Add flour and stir 3 minutes to create a roux. Remove pan from heat and add scalded milk in a steady stream, whisking vigorously until mixture is thick and smooth. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Simmer sauce 10–15 minutes or until it is thickened to the desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Strain sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl and add sherry and Cheddar, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Arrange toasts in a baking pan and evenly divide turkey meat among them. Top each sandwich with a tomato slice and 2 slices bacon. Spoon sauce evenly over sandwiches then sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil sandwiches under broiler about 4 inches from heat 5–7 minutes or until tops are brown and bubbly.