If the mint julep is the official drink of Derby Day, then the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich is the official dish. The classic sandwich is almost like if a croque monsieur and smothered turkey had a baby. It starts with a creamy, cheesy Béchemel sauce that's easy to whip up in our Cravings Braiser (or any heavy-bottomed pot). Then, you layer lightly toasted bread with deli turkey, cover in the cheesy sauce, and broil it up to create a golden, bubbly result. The finishing touch? Crispy strips of maple-garlic-roasted bacon (you heard that right), fresh tomato, and chives (or fresh lettuce, your pick). You definitely don't need to celebrate Derby Day to appreciate a sandwich this good!
6 slices thick-cut bacon (cut in half)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
6 slices white bread
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
½ cup finely shredded parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds sliced good quality deli turkey meat
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced or 3 ripe vine tomatoes, sliced
1 small head butter lettuce, separated (optional) or 1 bunch chives
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