My Old Kentucky Home

Okay, so I’ve never actually had a home in Kentucky, but as a kid I was obsessed with all things Kentucky. I was convinced I was going to live there – on a horse farm of course – and I had plans to loyally attend the Derby every year. In fact as a kid, I was rather obsessed with the Derby too. I’d watch the race day coverage for hours and I’d make sure to get all the local newspapers from the weekend so that I could scrapbook the event.

Flash-forward 25 years and I’ve still yet to attend the actual Derby, and I have no desire to own or live on a horse farm, but the first Saturday of May still holds a special place in my heart – even if I don’t have time to sit down and watch the entire coverage. So you can imagine my smile when Mr. N picked Kentucky for our state night this week. Good timing. Now while I was tempted to make that bourbon sirloin steak again and call it a recipe from Kentucky, I didn’t think you all would buy it.

Instead we did some digging around for Derby Day recipes. That’s when we came across a recipe in Southern Living Magazine for Kentucky Hot Browns. We opted for the less caloric version and began by making the Parmesan cheese sauce. Ingredients include butter, flour, milk, Parm, salt, pepper and paprika. Feel free to add hot sauce if you like as well – we left it out for the kids’ sake.

We first melted the butter, whisked in the flour and then gradually added the milk. Once the sauce thickened, we added the Parmesan and seasonings. The sauce was nice and creamy.

Next we sliced up some multi-grain bread (Not homemade this time. We were going for speed for this weeknight recipe.) and topped it with slices of deli turkey.

Next we topped some slices (the ones for Mike and I) with caramelized onions and then poured the cheese sauce over top. I’ll admit the onions were a bit over-toasted. That’s what happens when you try to multi-task (read: answer three phone calls, snap some photos, have a three-year old tugging on your back pocket and a seven-year old still telling you jokes).

We toasted the cheese sauce topped hot browns in the broiler for about two or three minutes when the cheese sauce was browned and bubbly.

We then topped the open-faced sandwiches with tomatoes, bacon crumbles and an additional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. (Yes, this is still the less caloric version.)

For the kids version, we left off the onion, hot sauce and tomatoes. We just knew those ingredients would not have gone over well. Unfortunately the hot brown was still not a favorite for Miss A. She took a lick of the cheese sauce and declared that she would not eat this again and that it was 1 spoon. She later ate the turkey and bacon crumbles.

Mr. N, however, was a big fan of the Kentucky Hot Brown. He even tried to convince Miss A that the cheese sauce isn’t great on its own, but when you eat it with the turkey, bread and bacon it’s really good. He came in with 3 spoons.

Mike and I fell somewhere in between the kids ratings. It was good, but not something we’d seek out again. We ended up at 2-1/2 and 2 spoons respectively, both agreeing that we’d prefer the Welsh Rarebit to this.

Now I do have to wonder if I’d like the more caloric version better. Still, I think I’d go rarebit again first. We’re going to have to find one more recipe from Kentucky before we wrap up this state adventure because I have a feeling Kentucky probably has some kickin’ desserts. At least I know Mike and I did when we stopped in at Jean Ferris on a recent weekend getaway to North Carolina. (Yes – we’ve got some North Carolina recipes coming up soon too.)

Have a great rest of the week and we’ll see you in a few days with Mr. N’s new international destination – Mongolia! Until then, I have to go brush up on this years horses so I can make my Derby pick.

Print this recipe: Kentucky Hot Browns

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31 comments on “My Old Kentucky Home

  1. I’ve been away and almost missed this trip to the Kentucky Derby, whew… back in the nick of time! I’m still working backwards, reading older posts so I’ll be back in the loop soon enough! This one did look good (oops with onions, that’s what I always do when I’m broiling pine nuts… and I mean every.single.time!). I think I’d love this one.. especially because it would be a quick dinner.. and I’m tired of the full-dinner menu thing at our house these days!! xoxo Smidge

  2. Deborah says:

    I have always wanted to try a hot brown, but I have yet to try it. Too bad you all didn’t love them!

  3. That parmesan sauce really dresses up a simple sandwich and makes it something special!

  4. aFrankAngle says:

    First-time visitor via Debra. As a Cincinnatian, Kentucky is on the other side of the river – just make a choice which bridge to cross. I enjoy Kentucky Hot Brown … but Kentucky Bourbon better … and bourbon-based sauces and marinades are awesome. Derby pie – yum! Thanks for the treat.

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! We’ve been through Cincinnati many times (recently in fact!). :) You should give the bourbon steak from the Oklahoma post a try sometime. Delicious!!!! Enjoy the Derby today!

  5. I lived in Tennessee for years and visited Kentucky quite a few times and I’ve never heard of a Kentucky Hot Brown but I’m definitely going to give it a try. For old time’s sake. :)

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks for stopping by Maureen! I hope that you’ll enjoy the recipe and that it will bring back some good memories for you. :)

  6. Karen says:

    I had heard of hot browns but had no idea what they were. The some of the ingredients sound good…surprised at the result.

  7. Aw, I was SURE that the white sauce would be a hit with Miss A – I remember always dipping (and burning) my finger in cooking white sauce as kid I like it so much. Lovely story and recipe, as always:)

  8. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    What an interesting fantasy… derby and all. We’ll have to analyze that one in greater detail at some point ;-).

    “I was tempted to make the bourbon sirloin steak again and call it a recipe from Kentucky…” hahaha… :).

    OMG on the Parmesan sauce…. love crispy onion bits and the bacon crumbles over top as the coup de grâce… wow, I can imagine that this would be super tasty though I am also very attracted to your melted cheese-Worcestershire sauce combo in the rarebit… thanks for the reminder!

    Love the horsey napkin rings.

  9. I can relate to multi tasking thing as I’m sure many of your follower’s can relate as well! All in all this looks great for a quick dinner weeknight or weekend! I too have always wanted to go to the Derby, maybe one day!
    Looking forward to Mongolian recipes, and some Kentucky dessert recipes too!

  10. Oh yum. I think I want to live in Kentucky now!

  11. I think I could have success with this recipe with my family, given that is comprised of two important ingredients — cheese sauce and bacon. I’m usually able to “sell” a lot of dishes with these, especially the bacon! It looks really good to me!

  12. Eva Taylor says:

    Nothing against your lovely presentation of this sandwich, I must agree with you Kristy, the rarebit wins. I like the sauce though, will bookmark it for something in the future.
    Looking forward the the North Carolina recipes…and hopefully some lovely photos!
    Now Mongolia sounds interesting, I have no idea what kind of food one would even find there. I am excited to find out what your next ‘trip’ is about!

  13. Love this! Mongolia? Wow- that is daring and I can’t wait to see what ya’ll do with it!

  14. Courtney says:

    I think being a mom, we are the queens of multi-tasking, though something always seems to fall through…(and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one where my food sometimes suffers). :) These look pretty good – but I bet the full caloric ones are better. Ahhh, if only all the bad stuff was good for you; life would be so much more fun.

  15. hotlyspiced says:

    What a shame you couldn’t give this dish any more spoons because it seems to have all the ingredients for a wonderful toasted sandwich. Maybe the high-in-calorie version is the one to make. But in this house, as long as the kids eat it, we’re happy xx

  16. Charles says:

    Oh wow, Mongola – what fun. Dare I expect goat meat or something? You should get the kids to build a yurt (or however it’s spelled) out in the back garden!

    These hot browns look wonderful – you weren’t kidding about the onion being slightly more caramelised than they should have been, but I bet it was still amazingly tasty – onion is one of those things which seems to just get tastier the darker it gets! Looks right up my street :)

  17. I love that this recipe is inspired from old dreams and ideas – it looks wonderful :)
    I think a country home would be so perfect to indulge and relax in :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  18. rsmacaalay says:

    Only 2 spoons, I guess if we add bacon on it that would beef up the score. For me that looks great

  19. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m surprised at the low number of spoons. The list of ingredients all sound appealing and I’m sure I’d love that parmesan sauce. Maybe they needed more bacon. You know, add 2 whole rashers and then taste. If need be, repeat again and again until the dish meets your expectations. Bacon makes everything better. :)

    • Kristy says:

      You may have it there. Although for me I think it was more the cheese sauce. I wasn’t a big fan. Perhaps the full-fat version would be more to my liking.

  20. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    It might sounds strange from a Japanese person saying this but I dream for a long time about American country home. I think I have too much movie influence too. I like barn style furniture and all the magazines featuring the homes… I know I won’t be able to live there but I still enjoy the image in my mind. =D

    This looks really good! It’s quick to make too (at least the week night version). Thanks for sharing~~!

    • Kristy says:

      I too have lots of those “movie” type images in my mind. I don’t know that I could actually live in any of them, but it’s fun to day dream! :)

  21. Dawn says:

    Seeing the 6 peices of bread remind me of the portions I make at home, we eat double what the kids eat…it seems to be fool proof. For a weeknight dinner, this looks great – especially with those toasted onions!! Tonight we had BLTs – bacon left over from egg night!

  22. On the surface I think that Rarebit maybe has a little more appeal to me, too, but I don’t think you can beat the ingredients in this dish. It sounds like a good Saturday meal to me. We have a love of the Derby, too. It wasn’t a part of my thinking at all growing up, but my husband’s mother was a real horse woman from the south…and just loved the Derby. We follow it closely in her memory! It will be fun to think of you enjoying it, too! Bring out the mint juleps! :-) Debra

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