Saturday, November 27, 2010

Leftover Turkey? Try a Hot Brown!

Alan was first introduced to the awesomeness that is the Hot Brown at a local restaurant this summer.  He's been plotting to make our own with leftover Thanksgiving Turkey ever since.  The concept is simple, and with quality components, it's a delicious and different way to eat up the rest of the bird.

I made the bread myself, but with a recipe that I unfortunately don't have permission to post.  If you come over, I'll show you how to make it :).  It's really good stuff, and several of you have had the pleasure of eating it.  Otherwise, I'd recommend a thickly sliced crusty sourdough.  No pansy squishy white bread for this - it just won't do.

Alan's other fantastic discovery this year is "Slow and Low" bacon.  He put the bacon in the oven at 220 degrees and let it cook for about 4 hours.  The result is chewy and rich, evenly cooked, and again, deliciously different.  His top secret addition is to sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on about an hour from the end of baking time.

These are called Hot Browns in reference to the gravy you pour over the top.  I am personally not a fan of browned turkey gravy (this is managed by browning the roux before adding the broth in, and in my experience it's a little tricky to walk the balance between browned and burned).  I leave mine light colored.  Therefore I suppose these should really be called a Hot Cream?  Not quite as nice of a ring to it.  We'll stick with the original title.

I recommend eating this with a hearty scoop of mashed potatoes so that you can liberally douse the sandwiches and the potatoes with your gravy, and a generous spoonful of cranberry sauce on the side to balance the flavors.

Hot Brown Sandwiches

12 thick (3/4") slices of a sturdy sourdough bread
12 thick (1/4") slices of roasted turkey breast
1 package of bacon
2 T. brown sugar
12 slices provolone cheese
1 - 2 cups turkey gravy

Cook the bacon according to your preference.  I recommend baking it on a cooling rack placed in a foil lined pan.  Clean up is easy - simply let the grease set up a bit as the pan cools, and wrap it all up in the foil and throw it away.  If you're impatient, bake it at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until it is to the desired crispness.  Sprinkle the brown sugar on for the last 5 minutes of baking.  If you're patient and plan far enough ahead, lay the bacon out as indicated above and bake at 220 for about 4 hours, sprinkling the sugar on at about 3 hours.

Toast the bread under the broiler, flip it over and toast the other side.  Assemble the sandwiches by layering turkey, bacon and provolone cheese on top.  Return to the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately with a side of mashed potatoes, a thorough dousing of warm turkey gravy, and a scoop of homemade cranberry sauce.

(This is an excellent meal to feed to a crowd.  We made three trays of these at once to feed 20 people the day after Thanksgiving.  Everyone left with full tummies and I heard no complaints from even the pickier eaters.)

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