brown sándwich caliente

The classic Hot Brown Sandwich is not called Brown because it is brown, but because it was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926. It is a variation of Welsh Rabbit meant to be a late-night supper. After its introduction, it quickly became a favorite at the Brown Hotel’s restaurant, as well as throughout Kentucky.

The original Hot Brown was simply sliced turkey on an open-faced white toast sandwich, topped with Mornay sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, overlaid with bacon strips, and garnished with pimento.

I have seen it prepared several times on TV, and decided I had to make one myself, New Mexico style. I don’t eat late suppers, so I decided to fix it for lunch.

  • 3 tbsp <butter>
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups fat free half and half cream
  • 1 cup grated Manchego*cheese
  • 1 egg, room temperature and beaten
  • <salt> and black pepper to taste
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and spread with <butter>
  • ½ lb turkey ham, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp canned green chile, drained
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 2 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp <butter>
  • <salt> and pepper, to taste
  • 4 bacon slices, crisp

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt <butter>. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and free from lumps. Gradually stir in cream until sauce comes to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add ½ cup of Manchego cheese and stir until melted and well blended.

In a small bowl, beat egg. Gradually add 1 cup of the hot cream, ¼ cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly. Gradually add egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add <salt> and pepper to taste.

In a small fry pan, sauté the mushrooms in a little <butter> until limp. <salt> and pepper to taste.

For each sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread slightly overlapped diagonally on an ovenproof (flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of turkey ham. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Sprinkle with 1 oz Manchego cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with diced chiles, cross two pieces of bacon over the top, garnish with tomato slices and mushrooms, sprinkle over another oz of Manchego cheese, and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings of two open-faced sandwiches each.