Wine and cheese, one of the best culinary combinations, am I right? Since April is National Grilled Cheese Month, what is more fitting than a #SundaySupper menu that pairs Gallo Family wines with amazing grilled cheese sandwiches?! Creamy, cheesy goodness filled with turkey, bacon and tomatoes, oozing out from between two buttery pecorino-encrusted slices of bread transforms a Bluegrass State classic into a traditional comfort food in this Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Wine, cheese… obviously the first location that comes to mind is… Kentucky?! Well no, but the first thing what comes to mind when we travel is wine and cheese… and chocolate and bourbon and ice cream and beer and whatever the local food and drink culture has to hold for us.
Sure The Hubby and I have done the winery tour thing in Napa and Tuscany. I mean, that only makes sense. But pretty much everywhere we go, whether Delaware or Vermont or upstate New York, we are hitting up local vineyards or breweries. The chemical engineers in us just get such a rush from seeing tanks and vessels and pumps and filters, and from learning about the combination of science and art that goes into producing their products.
Then there is the foodie side of both of us. The Hubby isn’t quite as into it as I am, but much of our travel plan involves where and what we are going to eat. And he is certainly never one to turn down good food. In Vermont, there is the absolutely necessary visit to a certain ice cream factory, regardless of how many times you’ve been, and on our last trip up north, we even learned about making chocolate and cheese and yogurt. When we go this June, I really want to check out a maple syrup producer. And no matter where we travel, from high end fine dining to the local hole in the wall, we always have to sample the local specialties and delicacies – pasteles de Belem in Lisbon, sourdough bread in San Francisco, prosciutto in Tuscany, low country cuisine in Charleston or Savannah, as much gelato as we can get our hands on in Italy, beignets in New Orleans. The list goes on and on.
In Kentucky, well, we had to visit a bourbon distillery (though neither of us are really bourbon drinkers), and enjoying Bread Pudding at the Keeneland Race Track and digging into a Kentucky Hot Brown were absolute necessities (amongst hitting up some of my family’s local favorites). Shortly after we returned, I had to work bourbon into a recipe, so I made this popcorn. And now, the Hot Brown.
Obviously this Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich is inspired by the Kentucky classic dish that bears the same name. The Kentucky Hot Brown is an open faced turkey sandwich with strips of bacon and slices of tomato, covered in a rich béchamel, then typically sprinkled with grated pecorino and broiled till it is golden brown and bubbly. Comfort food at its best. I took these elements, but I really wanted the cheese to be the star player, so I added just enough turkey to get that meatiness (I used leftovers from my Slow Cooker BBQ Rubbed Turkey Breast), and really just enough bacon for “seasoning”. I shredded the cheese and mixed it with Greek yogurt to mimic that creaminess of the béchamel sauce, and instead of just coating the bread in butter, I mixed in some pecorino to create that golden brown crust.
And oh my goodness! This may be one of my favorite grilled cheese creations ever. The Hubby, who tends to be fairly low key in his reactions to my cooking, exclaimed, “You have a definite winner with this one!” My boys, well, bread, cheese, bacon. Yeah, it disappeared almost as fast as I put it on their plates.
I paired this grilled cheese sandwich with Gallo Family Chardonnay, since it typically pairs well with poultry dishes and cream sauces. While I replaced the cream sauce from the original dish with ooey gooey cheese, I still think this wine was the perfect complement to the richness of this sandwich.
Give it a try and imagine you are noshing on wine and cheese in France or Italy or California Wine Country or… Kentucky?!
And whatever you like to put on your fancy-pants grilled cheese, I’m sure there is a Gallo wine that pairs perfectly with it. Learn more about the wines of Gallo Family Vineyards, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, and check out the store locator to try some of their wines yourself.
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And check out all of today’s amazing recipes and the stories that inspired them at the bottom of this post!
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
What is your favorite wine and cheese pairing?
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 Tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese (can substitute parmesan)
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese (can substitute parmesan)
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped cooked turkey breast (leftovers from this Slow Cooker BBQ Rubbed Turkey Breast work great)
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
- 8 slices of your favorite sandwich bread (I used whole wheat for the family, and gluten free for myself)
- About 1 Tbsp olive oil for the pan. divided if you are cooking the sandwiches in batches, and not all at once in one large pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the butter and 2 Tbsp pecorino. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, cheese, and nutmeg, stirring until mixed thoroughly.
- Gently fold in the turkey, bacon and tomatoes.
- Using the pecorino butter, butter the outside of each slice of bread, about ½ Tbsp per slice.
- Divide the filling between four of the slices of bread, packing it together, about a ½ cup in each.
- Top with another slice of buttered bread.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat.
- Cook the sandwiches for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and the cheese has melted. Covering the pan with a lid during cooking will help the inside get all warm and gooey before the bread gets too browned.
Looking for some more fancy-pants grilled cheese? I’ve got some for you…
- Basil Balsamic Strawberries & Whipped Feta Grilled Cheese
- The Bug’s Ultimate Bacon, Corn & Avocado Grilled Cheese
- Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
Plus here are the rest of the wine and grilled cheese pairings for #SundaySupper…
- Apple, Prosciutto and Gruyere Grilled Cheese by Hip Foodie Mom
- Berry Chocolate Panini Sandwich with Wine Reduction Sauce by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Brie, Ham, and Blackberry Grilled Cheese by Healthy. Delicious.
- Cafe Zinfandel Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese by In The Kitchen With KP
- Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Arugula Grilled Cheese by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- French Onion Grilled Cheese by Family Foodie
- Funky Monkey Grilled Cheese Sammie by The Messy Baker
- Greek Salad Grilled Cheese by Ruffles & Truffles
- Grilled Cheese & Bison Sandwiches by The Foodie Army Wife
- Grilled Goat Cheese w/ Tomatoes & Tarragon on Olive Bread by girlichef
- Grilled Mascarpone on Chocolate Cherry Bread with Blackberry Cabernet Compote by Desserts Required
- Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich by Magnolia Days
- Honey Glazed Peach and Pork Tenderloin Grilled Cheese by Melanie Makes
- Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Mediterranean Grilled Cheese by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese by The Dinner-Mom
- Mushroom Duxelles & Asparagus Grilled Cheese by Foxes Love Lemons
- Parmesan Crusted Baked Grilled Cheese by Alida’s Kitchen
- Roast Beef Horseradish Arugula Grilled Cheese by Shockingly Delicious
- Roasted Red Pepper, Feta, and Olive Grilled Cheese by Neighborfood