One of the best dishes in all of Kentucky is Hot Brown Macaroni & Cheese. The Kentucky Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich that gained popularity in the Bluegrass State. In 1926, Fred Schmidt created the dish at Louisville’s Brown Hotel by combining roast turkey, tomato, bacon, and thick slices of Texas toast with Mornay sauce. In this dish, we’ve taken the basic mac and cheese and fused it with the flavours of a Hot Brown. Pasta in a rich, creamy sauce is topped with bright, juicy cherry tomatoes, and the dish’s traditional origins are honoured with the addition of bacon and breadcrumbs. When heating the Mornay sauce, be careful to prevent lumps and burn by keeping the whisk in regular contact with the bottom of the pot.
Ingredients for Kentucky Hot Brown Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon slices (5 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 ¼ cups cubed (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces) baguette (from 1 [12-ounce] baguette)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Macaroni and Cheese
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- ¼ cup (about 2 1/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 pound Gruyère cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
- 8 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated with a Microplane grater (about 1 cup), divided
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to pkg. directions
- 1 ½ pounds chopped cooked turkey breast (about 4 cups)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Directions for making Kentucky Hot Brown Macaroni and Cheese
Get the Fixing ready:
Step-1: Prepare a 350°F oven. Prepare a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bacon takes around 8-10 minutes to cook in a big nonstick pan over medium heat, and that’s with stirring every so often. Wrap bacon in paper towels and leave at room temperature until ready to use. Take a medium-sized heatproof bowl and add four tablespoons of bacon drippings; dispose of the rest.
Step-2: Reserved bacon drippings should be added to baguette cubes, thyme, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Spread out the mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet. Ten to twelve minutes in a preheated oven, stirring once, will provide bread cubes that are crispy and golden brown. After ten minutes, take them out of the range and cool them on the baking sheet. Place the bread mixture in a small bowl and let it out at room temperature. Fixing for Kentucky Hot Brown Macaroni and Cheese is ready now.
Get the Mac & Cheese ready:
Step-1: In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Flour is whisked in, and the mixture is cooked for approximately 3 minutes while continually being whisked until it thickens and becomes golden brown. Stirring continuously, gradually add the milk and bring to a low boil over medium heat (make sure to remain in contact with the bottom of the pot while whisking to prevent scorching or lumps as the milk mixture comes up to a gentle boil). Turn the heat down to low and cook, often whisking, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mix in the dry seasonings: salt, onion, cayenne, nutmeg, and white pepper. Mix 8 ounces of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano with the Gruyère in a medium bowl. After combining the milk and cream, add the cheese mixture in four separate increments, stirring continuously between each addition, until the cheese has melted and the milk is smooth. Just before serving, mix in the cooked pasta and the meat. Throw in some cherry tomatoes and stir. The saltiness should be adjusted to personal preference. Take it off the heat.
Step-2: Prepare a 350°F oven. Put a 9-by-13-inch baking dish on a baking sheet and lightly oil it with butter. Then, using a spatula, level the top of the macaroni mixture in the baking dish. Scatter the Microplane-shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 ounce). Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and golden. Cancel the baking and take it out of the oven. Toast some bread, mix with some bacon, and serve.
Enjoy your Kentucky Hot Brown Macaroni and Cheese with your friends and family and have a good time with them.