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Hot Brown Hop

New trail makes it easy to indulge in Louisville, Kentucky’s famed local dish.
by Hope S. Philbrick 

Tempting though it may be, a visitor to Louisville, Kentucky, cannot survive on Bourbon alone.

The locals know that.

Many of the 27 stops on the Urban Bourbon Trail serve food in addition to the requisite extensive selection of America’s native spirit.

Our friends at the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau didn’t stop there.

Their new Hot Brown Hop lists 40 establishments that offer hot brown on the menu, making it easy to know where to indulge in the city’s famed dish.

A hot brown is an open-faced hot sandwich that was created by Fred K. Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in 1926. A variation of traditional Welsh rarebit, it smothers turkey and bacon with Mornay sauce then pops the dish in the oven or under the broiler until the bread is crisp and the cheesy sauce begins to brown. It’s then garnished with tomatoes and served hot.

HotBrownmacIt’s a simple recipe with a taste that’s somehow greater than the sum of its parts. What’s even more interesting is how many twists and turns chefs give it to make it their own.

Unless you’re familiar with a specific chef’s version of a hot brown, when you order one you really never quite know what will be coming out of the kitchen, which is astonishing given that the original recipe has so few ingredients. Some variations add more ingredients, such as ham, crab meat, avocado, cheddar cheese, mushrooms and much more. Some creations take inspiration from hot brown then veer far from sandwiches; there are hot brown soups, pastas, seafood, veggie sides and more. (Pictured is a mac and cheese version.)

For more on the Hot Brown legend and a recipe from the Brown Hotel, click on over to Getaways for Grownups.

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