Tag Archives: kentucky derby party

Horse Bites: Hot Brown

In addition to The Pie, Hot Browns are another must-have on Derby weekend. Many Hostesses serve them for brunch Derby Day. It’s essentially an open-faced turkey sandwich on toast with Mornay sauce topped with bacon and tomato slices. But everyone has their own touches!

Kentucky Hot Brown (four generous portions)

6 slices bread, toasted and sliced diagonally
12 oz. thick-sliced turkey breast (this is the best I’ve found so far)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
8 strips half-cooked or pre-cooked bacon
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups scalded milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter and whisk in flour (do not brown). Remove from heat and chill. (The longer you chill the better.)
2. Heat milk and broth (do not boil). Add hot mixture to chilled flour mixture, and whisk until thickened.
3. Add salt, pepper, and cheese until melted.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
5. Assemble Hot Browns in a 9×13 pan in the following order: toast, turkey, sauce, and bacon.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly.

This also freezes well. BTW, this is super-easy and would be a great surprise to make Mom for Mother’s Day Brunch!

printable version

Now, you’ll notice I didn’t put the traditional tomato slices on top of the bacon before I cooked it. All my guys would have removed it immediately, so I didn’t bother.

There are two options for this one:

If you truly want to stick to all finger-foods then use slices of baguette or wedges of pita or flatbread and a thick-sliced turkey like this one:

If you’re having a large party go ahead and cook a turkey breast a day or two before. Top it with your favorite cheese – I love Swiss, but anything that’s not too crumbly will work fine. I used smoked Gouda for the ones pictures below and they got rave reviews! Microwave that bacon (after cutting the slices into thirds), and while that is being patted dry by your sous chef (spouse, child, helpful friend) slice some grape or cherry tomatoes in half. This one needs a toothpick to hold it together.

(Yes, there is one without tomato for the picky college kid!)

Another yummy option is to make the Mornay sauce just like the original Hot Brown recipe. Then make turkey sandwiches on toast and cut them into quarters, placing 1/2 slice of cooked bacon on each quarter. Spoon the sauce into shot glasses and slide a sandwich quarter into each. Float half a cherry tomato in it if you like. Serve hot! Yes, a bit more bother, but SO clever. You can even get personalized shot glasses from bridal retailers if you want to make them even more memorable. I’d prefer plastic myself, especially if there’s alcohol involved and carpet on the floor. Have I mentioned how much I love my hardwoods and tile?

Check a few posts back for my Benedictine and Thurby Pie Horse Bites! Country Ham and Mocktail posts coming soon!

Run for the Rose’ and the Derby Princesses

(photo courtesy of Kentucky Derby Festival)

The Run for the Rose’ is one of my personal favorite Derby events. It’s about wine, which is a subject close to my heart, and running, which is something I’m totally in favor of . . .in theory if not in practice. Here’s the basic concept: Contestants representing local bars and restaurants are given a serving tray, a bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and five plastic wineglasses. When the starter’s pistol goes off they have to uncork the wine, pour it into the glasses on the tray, and carry the tray around the bases of Slugger Field (before Slugger Field was built they had a different course, but I digress). At the finish line they hand over their tray to have their wine measured. Their final score is calculated from a complicated equation combining how much wine they had left and how fast they ran the course. I am proud to say that a relative of mine took second place two years running representing the Hard Rock Cafe. He a smooth, long-legged, low-to-the ground style that kept that wine in the glasses quite nicely. This is also one of those Derby events that can easily be adapted for a home Derby Party, especially a kid-friendly one. Think plastic plates instead of trays, and cups of lemonade or water instead of glasses of wine. Set up a backyard course and make sure the video camera is charged up!
(photo courtesy of Fillies, Inc.)
Who are you sure to see at the Run for the Rose’ as well as at all the other Derby Festival events throughout the week? Why, the Derby Princesses, of course! The Derby Princesses are five young women selected every year to represent Kentucky at all the Derby Festival events. They are selected based on academic achievement, community involvement, and knowledge of Kentucky Derby history. They undergo a complicated application and interview process and, if selected, will attend over seventy Derby Festival events over the course of two weeks. Typically, these are college Juniors and Seniors who will have to re-schedule finals to meet the demands of being a Derby Princess – this is a serious commitment! You will see them, beautifully dressed and coiffed, at all events. Scorching sun, driving rain, strong winds, deep mud, drunken and disorderly attendees? They deal with it all with a smile and a wave of a neatly-manicured hand. A friend I graduated from college with confided that as a Derby Princess she was instructed that ONLY pale pink nail polish or a French manicure was appropriate for a Princess. So I’m guessing visible tattoos, facial piercings, and blue streaks in your hair are out as well. For your home Derby party I’m thinking all you need are a few tiaras from your local costume-and-party-supply store and everyone who wants to can be a Princess. Who doesn’t enjoy wearing a tiara every now and then?

Derby Cuisine from Beverly’s Back Porch

Many of you already know Beverly from Beverly’s Back Porch. But did you know she’s my aunt? And I can just drop by her house any old time I feel like it and she’ll feed me? It’s good to be me. Anyway, she’s been cooking up a storm for Derby, and after more debate than most Supreme Court decisions warrant we finally narrowed her guest post down to three Derby dishes. No, you can’t serve just these three things because people will be there all day long and half the night, but this will get you started and you can drop by Beverly’s for all the other recipes you’re gonna want. But you have to have these three things or it’s not a Derby Party: Mint Juleps, Hot Browns, and Derby Pie!

Mint Juleps, the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky legend is that a boatman made the discovery when he left the Mississippi River in search of spring water to mix with his bourbon and as a whim added some of the mint growing beside the spring. The actual date of discovery is unknown but the drink was adopted by genteel Kentucky society in the nineteenth century. The cup in which a mint julep is traditionally served is made of sterling silver (originally coin silver), about 4 inches tall and three inches in diameter. A complete set, with the names of all the Derby winners, is in the director’s room of Churchill Downs. The following is Henry Clay’s recipe, which was found in a diary.
“The mint leaves, fresh and tender, should be pressed against a coin-silver goblet with the back of a silver spoon. Only bruise the leaves gently and then remove them from the goblet. Half fill with cracked ice. Mellow bourbon, aged in oaken barrels, is poured from the jigger and allowed to slide slowly through the cracked ice. In another receptacle, granulated sugar is slowly mixed into chilled limestone water to make a silvery mixture as smooth as some rare Egyptian oil, then poured on top of the ice. While beads of moisture gather on the burnished exterior of the silver goblet, garnish the brim of the goblet with choicest sprigs of mint.” ~Henry Clay
Less romantic but perhaps more interesting to the contemporary taste is the recipe for Mint Juleps by the Pitcher. I really don’t know anyone who drinks more than 1 or 2 of these, they are sweet. But please have at least one or your hostess will never shut up. Have a biscuit with country ham, the salt in the ham will help with the sugar in the julep.
Mint Juleps by the Pitcher
(approx. 5 juleps)
print recipe
2 cups really good Kentucky Bourbon, I like Old Pogue
1 cup minted simple syrup, (recipe below)
Crushed Ice, have tons of crushed ice on hand
Mint Sprigs, for garnish
Combine bourbon and minted simple syrup in a pretty pitcher or decanter. Chill overnight, or until needed. The mixture should be very cold. Fill julep cups . . . what, no julep cups? Okay use your rocks glasses, and fill with crushed ice (pack down). Wait for a thin layer of frost to appear on the outside of the glass. Into each cup or glass, pour the chilled minted bourbon. Decorate with mint sprigs. Sip through short straws, this way you will get a whiff of mint with each sip.
Minted Simple Syrup
(makes 1 cup)
To make minted simple syrup, boil 1 cup water and 2 cups sugar for five minutes. Cool. Add 1/2 cup packed mint leaves and let brew overnight or 12 hours, stirring once or twice. Strain through a fine sieve, discarding mint.

In the 1920’s, The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky drew over 1200 guest each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were growing rapidly bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests’ palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. The Hot Brown was born. They are an absolute must have to serve sometime during Derby Week or on Derby Day. They can be made ahead and frozen until ready to bake.
It is fine to double the recipe, but no more than that. If you need more start a new batch. Never, never use Cheddar Cheese in a Hot Brown, unless of course you are doing a “Truck Stop or Diner” theme. These will become a family favorite regardless of the time of year.
The Legendary Hot Brown
(4 servings)
Printer Friendly Version
4 slices of toast
12 ounces sliced turkey breast
4 cups Mornay Sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup grated Romano Cheese
8 slices tomato (optional)
8 strips half-cooked bacon
Mornay Sauce
(approx. 4 cups)
4 ounces of butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups strong chicken broth (I prefer chicken stock)
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup grated Romano Cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
In a saucepan, melt butter and blend in flour, but do not let it brown. Remove saucepan from heat and chill. Heat broth and milk to boiling point. Add milk mixture to the flour mixture while beating vigorously with a wire whisk until sauce thickens. Season with salt and white pepper and cheese. Simmer until cheese melts. To assemble Hot Brown, trim toast and place on 4 individual ovenproof platters. Arrange the turkey slices over the toast and divide the Mornay Sauce over each servings, covering turkey and toast completely. Sprinkle with grated Romano Cheese and dust with paprika. In none of the older recipes could I find the use of tomatoes, however a lot of restaurants do use them now. Place two slices of tomatoes opposite each other and in between, 2-strips of bacon. Place platters in preheated 375 degrees F. oven for 15 minutes or until Hot Browns are bubbly.
Cook’s Note: I have also added a paper thin slice of country ham under the turkey slices for a very nice touch.
You need to print a copy of this as fast as possible in case I have to remove it from the blog. We are not allowed to call this “Derby Pie” or “Kentucky Derby Pie” because of trademark/copyright issues. The original recipe from the 20’s was created at the Melrose Inn in Prospect Ky. Sometime along the way the rights to the name were bought. See why we have to be careful? This recipe was given to me by my dear friend Doris Mauldin in the late 70’s. I bet they’re having Derby Pie and Hot Browns in heaven for Derby Day. If you get caught by the Derby Pie police you know what to do. Remember, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Just offer them a piece of “First Saturday in May Pie”. Not having Derby Pie the first Saturday in May would be like not having eggnog for Christmas.
Kentucky Derby Pie
(6-8 servings)
printer version
3/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup English walnuts( I use half English and half black walnuts)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 unbaked pie crust
Mix flour and sugar; add eggs, and butter; add nut, chocolate chips and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 45-60 minutes. Test with toothpick, pie should be chewy but not runny – Bake longer if necessary.
Top with slightly sweetened whipped cream before serving.
Cook’s Note: If I remember I soak my walnuts overnight in bourbon. If I don’t remember I pour about a teaspoon of bourbon over each slice before I top it with the whipped cream. It is also allowed to add a teaspoon or two of bourbon to your whipped cream.
What’s your favorite Derby recipe? Or if this is your first Derby, what’s your favorite party food? Comment or link up your recipe and share with us!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...