Kentucky Life

I've moved a lot in my life. Even before marrying a Navy man I moved a lot. As a child my father worked for AT&T. He was a union man, and I am damn proud of him for that. He helped build and maintain the communication system across this country. But that was in the 80s. When Ma Bell was sucking up all the little telephones companies, laying off workers, and trying to bust up unions.

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the wonderful, beautiful state my parents were living in when I was born.

Kentucky. The bluegrass state. Where the horses race across the horizon, which is only about a quarter mile away. Where Daniel Boone lived and left his wife with their children. And where a hotel came up with a wonderful dish called the Hot Brown. I prefer my hot brown with turkey and ham, and no bacon. I know that's sacrilege to some people, but I just don't like bacon and white sauce together. Especially not when I top it with a thick slice of fresh tomato. I provided a link to show how some people make it, but now I will describe how I prefer to make it.

First you start with thick slices of bread. Any kind works so long as it is slightly stale, toasted does not work as well. So slice it thick in the morning and let it sit on the counter till dinner. Place the stale bread in a deep plate or oven safe bowl. This is why I always buy Corelle. Make up a simple bechamel sauce and add shredded cheddar cheese. With the back of a spoon paint on just a bit of the sauce to the bread. That will help hold everything in place. Next add a solid layer of sliced turkey. Not luncheon meat, but baked leftover turkey. Add a small scoop of the cheese sauce, and if you're feeling spicy add some tabasco sauce. Add sliced onions, not a lot or it will slip. Next you add thinly sliced country ham. Or if you want your bacon any way you can use some ends and pieces that have already been cooked up. On top of that you will put a full scoop of the cheese sauce, maybe a bit more. You want enough that it pours down the sides but doesn't reach the bottom yet. Next you add a thick slice or two of tomato. Add enough cheese sauce on top that it starts to pool around the bread. Top with parmesan. Pop it in a broiler until the top starts to brown up. Garnish with green onion and fresh cracked pepper. Then wait 2-5 minutes. The tomato will still be spitting juices and because the top is sealed all the juice will trickle down into the ham. The toast will start to soak up the cheesy goodness. The turkey will start to fall apart as the onions release their sweet bite into it.

Ok now dig in.

Just typing this has my mouth watering and brings up wonderful memories of after Thanksgiving meals. It's the perfect meal for any leftover meats. This Kentucky girl knows how not to waste food so I've made it with roasted beef, corned beef, pork loins, chicken, and just about anything else you can think of. If you don't have a second type of meat for the other layer you can always use a fried or poached egg too.

And the perfect Kentucky sweet to follow it up, at least where I was from, is potato candy. But that's a different recipe for a different post.