A spicy variation of the traditional Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich (created in Louisville in 1926), this meal gets extra kick from jalapeno peppers.
And don’t feel guilty about piling on the Mornay sauce, chef Anthony Lamas writes in the recipe headnotes of “Southern Heat: New Southern Cooking Latin Style,” because that’s one of the best parts. “I’m your chef, not your cardiologist.”
The recipe calls for turkey, but ham and chicken can be substituted.
KENTUCKY HOT BROWN WITH MANCHEGO-JALAPENO MORNAY SAUCE
FOR THE SAUCE
4 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 jalapenos, seeds and membranes removed, 1 diced and the other sliced for garnish
2 cups grated Manchego cheese
For hot browns
12 slices French bread or Texas toast, toasted and crusts removed
1 1/2 pounds roasted and sliced turkey breast
12 strips bacon, cooked
12 slices heirloom tomatoes, lightly salted
Grated manchego cheese, for topping
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Make sauce: In medium saucepan, warm cream with nutmeg, pepper and salt over medium heat just until mixture bubbles around the edges. In another pan, melt butter over medium heat and add flour, whisking constantly to make a blond roux. Cook for 2 minutes to remove flour taste, then slowly add warm cream to roux, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. When mixture is slightly thickened, add diced jalapenos and cheese and whisk until cheese has melted and everything is blended. Adjust seasonings and keep warm.
Assemble sandwiches in 6 individual greased oval casserole dishes. In each casserole, place 2 slices of toast on bottom of dish. Top with sliced turkey and 3/4 cup sauce. Place 2 bacon slices on top, add 2 tomato slices and top with grated Manchego. Place dish in oven and cook until sauce is bubbly and cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.