3 Party-Friendly Versions of the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Comfort Food

By Noah Kaufman |
FWX HOT BROWN DERBY PARTY QUICHE

Courtesy of the Brown Hotel

Hopefully your Derby party drinking plans are in order at this point. But that still leaves the little matter of what to feed people. To solve this problem for you, we went three miles down the road from Churchill Downs to track down Kentucky’s ultimate comfort food.

The Hot Brown—an open-faced turkey sandwich doused in Mornay sauce and topped with bacon—is an almost century-old Kentucky tradition, invented at the Brown Hotel. It’s the sort of dish that can take a hangover and smother it in Texas toast and cheese. One thing the Hot Brown is not, though, is party-friendly. All the things that make it delicious make it a very messy knife-and-fork-required endeavor. Fortunately, the Brown reimagined the original sandwich in a few easier-to-handle ways that you can snack on with a julep in your hand: a mini version, a muffin version and a quiche version (perfect for a post-Derby party brunch the next day).

Hand your guests one of these when they walk in. You can thank us later. 

Hot Brown Quiche

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk                                                                                      
  • 1 cup roasted turkey breast, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato, seeded and diced                                                                                                       
  • 1/4 cup bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
  • Four 4-inch pie shells
  • 1 tablespoon paprika       
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoon parsley

Mornay sauce:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2 ounces grated Romano cheese plus more for sprinkling 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To make the quiche batter, whisk eggs and whole milk together. Chill well.

Split the turkey, tomato and bacon evenly into the 4 pie shells. Pour in quiche batter, filling to the rim. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, until set. The quiche should be golden brown and firm.

To make the Mornay sauce, first make a roux by melting the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat and adding the flour to it. Continue to cook, using a rubber spatula to keep it from burning. Add cream and whisk in the roux to slightly thicken the sauce. Add nutmeg, cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour Mornay over the premade quiche. Sprinkle with paprika and place 2 pieces of Roma tomato on top. Sprinkle with remaining Romano cheese and bake at 325 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes, or until sauce bubbles. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Hot Brown Muffins

Servings: Makes 18 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup roasted turkey breast, diced
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 cups Mornay sauce (see recipe above)

Heat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except for the paprika, parsley and Mornay sauce. Pour batter into muffin tins that have been sprayed with vegetable oil and lined with muffin wrappers. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let baked muffins cool completely, and sprinkle tops with paprika and parsley. Serve with side of hot Mornay sauce. 

Mini Hot Browns

Makes 12 Appetizers

Ingredients

  • 12 mini phyllo tart shells
  • ½ cup cold Mornay sauce (see recipe below)
  • ½ cup roasted turkey breast, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup tomato, diced
  • 1 slice cooked bacon, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

Mornay sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½  cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

To make the Mornay sauce, first make a roux by melting the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat and adding the flour to it. Continue to cook, using a rubber spatula to keep it from burning. Add cream and whisk in the roux to slightly thicken the sauce. Add nutmeg, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

Place tart shells ½ inch apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cold Mornay sauce, turkey and tomato. Fill pastry bag with mix, and carefully fill each shell to the top. Sprinkle each with bacon, paprika and Romano cheese. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes or until the tarts are heated all the way through. Garnish with parsley, and serve warm.  

Related: The 6 People You Will See at Your Derby Party 
Win, Place, Show: Here Are Your 3 Julep Recipes for Derby Week
3 Great Bourbons that Don't Come from Kentucky

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