Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Ultimate Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich and a Thanksgiving Memoir

Thanksgiving began when my daughter arrived home on Monday. And my parents arrived Tuesday for their third Thanksgiving since the kids were six. And then my son arrived on Wednesday. Everything was beginning to feel good, exhaustingly good. Though all was still crazy in my heart for my family in Israel at least I had my family here to give thanks. And give thanks we did. Surrounded by family and friends, we were thankful for Mr. Turkey and President Abraham Lincoln who created this holiday. We gave thanks for getting to know our wonderful family in South Africa and we gave thanks for our health and our dogs. We gave thanks for being together and for being surrounded by such bounty. And we even shed a few tears throughout our “what we are thankful for” around the table memories.

It was a busy weekend and ended all too soon. Enjoy it with me if you will.

It began with someone who may
have stayed out to late.
And someone wishful laying in
front of the refrigerator.
And then we began to get to work.
The coals were started.

The turkey was brined and seasoned.
The house was ready.
The table was set.

Grandma was happy.
Grandpa was happy.
The candles were lit.

                                                              A thumbs up was given.

People smiled.

                                                                 More people smiled.             

                                                                Dessert was served.

                                                                Good wine was drunk.
                                                       And Freddie got her turkey.

The Hot Brown is basically an open face roast turkey sandwich with a lot of Mornay cheese sauce spooned over and then broiled. It is then topped off with a couple of slices of crisp bacon and a slice of tomato. Since I had many leftovers to use I decided to create my version of the ultimate hot brown sandwich. My husband said it was the best lunch he ever had. There aren’t many things he is right about but this just may be it.

Instead of bread I decided to make stuffing patties. I chopped my stuffing up finely and since our family likes stuffing on the crispy side I added a bit more broth and heavy cream. What can I say except it was leftover, too. I then added a few tablespoons of flour to bind the patties. Then I coated them in parmesan cheese. I then fried them in maple pepper butter that was leftover from the sweet potatoes. Ummmm. I might just make these next year and forget the stuffing. They turned out crispy and chewy and looked like panfried burgers.

Next the cheese sauce. I started with the traditional butter and flour and then I added milk and pumpkin beer. Since I still had some gravy I stirred that in too. I also stirred in a bit of adobo sauce from the chipotle peppers I always have in my fridge to give it a good smoky taste and a little kick. And last but not a least a cup of sharp cheddar and 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan. Our turkey was smoked so I thought a smoky cheese sauce  would do the trick. I was not wrong.

From there it was a matter of taking the stuffing patty and topping it with turkey. I then spooned on the cheese sauce and garnished this creation with a touch of cranberry sauce (forget the tomato) and a few slices of crisp bacon. Yes, this was a good lunch. Yes, this was another memory maker. Yes, I’ll share it with everyone, if you all say you’ll come again.

The Ultimate Kentucky Hot Brown
(to serve 4)
4 stuffing patties
1 lb turkey leftovers or use good thick deli slices
Cheese Sauce
8 slices of crisply cooked bacon
Leftover cranberry sauce or fresh sliced tomatoes

Stuffing Patties
4 c of leftover stuffing
1c of broth or as needed (You can even use some heavy cream)
2T flour
½ c parmesan cheese
2 T butter (I used maple pepper butter that was leftover)
Chop stuffing finely. Add broth if needed to dampen stuffing. Add 2T of flour to bind or more if needed. Shape into 4 patties and roll in freshly grated parmesan cheese. Fry in butter or oil. Let them get good and crispy. They will look like a hamburger patty. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

Cheese Sauce
2 T Flour
2T Butter
1 c beer (I used pumpkin)
2c milk
1c Cheddar Cheese
1/3c Parmesan cheese
Leftover gravy if you have it
1 T of chipotle adobo sauce if you prefer
Melt butter. Whisk in flour. It will get all lumpy. Cook for about a minute to take away the floury taste. Now gradually stir in the beer and let it cook for a minute. Add the rest of the milk whisking as you go. Do not let it get to thick. Stir in your cheese whisking as you go to make it smooth and creamy. If it is to thick add more liquid and now is the time to stir in your leftover gravy if you have it. You can also add the chipotle sauce if you like it. Keep warm.

Now you are ready to assemble. Take your warm stuffing patties and top with warmed 1/4 lb of turkey. Add lots of cheese sauce. Garnish with cranberry sauce and bacon.

Our Menu:

Crudites with Onion dip
Bacon Caramel Corn
Artichoke Dip
Roasted Salted Nuts

Smoked Turkey

Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes with Maple Pepper Butter
Cranberries with Orange and Chipotle
Frozen Cranberries
Roasted Brussell Sprout Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans
Corn Bread Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Maple Pecan Pie

Apple Pie
Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie

More Thanksgiving Recipes:

Maple Glazed Walnut Scones
Pumpkin Chipotle Soup
Truffled Scalloped Potatoes
Fresh Cranberry and Apple Salad
Frozen Cranberry Salad
Tamale Stuffing
Magic Pumpkin Butter Bars
Pecan Shortbread Nut Bars
Maple Glazed Challah Rolls

Please Pin and Share!

Get My Latest Recipes & More Via E-Mail


  1. Good photo of the hot brown. I like the little bit of gradient you have in the grey background, and the plate (and background) nicely frames the sandwich. Simple, effective composition. And the cranberry adds nice color. And the recipe? Looks like a winner to me! Good ingredients. And thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving pictures! I'm a sucker for many happy, smiling faces.

  2. Thank you so much. Coming from someone who's photography is out of this world I will take this as a compliment. I am working on composition but I wish I had some light. Any recommendations? Hope you had a good thanksgiving too especially under the circumstances. Don't know you, but feel I do and was thinking about you the last few weeks.

    1. Abbe, that's so kind of you! And the feeling is returned. It's weird, isn't it, how blogging can create virtual friendships? Regarding light, it depends how heavy duty you want to get. I bought some pretty decent studio flash and a whole bunch of equipment - but this cost $$$ and takes time to learn. I like photography, so it's a hobby for me. But I'll bet these kind of lights aren' what you're looking for. At the other end, a lot of food bloggers seem to like the Lowel Ego Lights. This are constant light sources so you can see what the light is doing (unlike flash), and aren't too expensive. LED lights are also becoming popular and are worth looking at. These are also constant light sources. You need to learn more technique with these, but you'll get more flexibility.

  3. Oh, I love thanksgiving! You worked very hard, right? The pictures are beautiful. Love to you all

  4. Very hard! Maybe you could come one year!Hope you are doing well. I'm really upset about your dad. Crazy people everywhere!

    1. Maybe one day we will come...
      Don't be upset, it's the voters' will, and we respect that.