Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich for #SundaySupper

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

Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich | | #grilledcheese #bacon #turkey

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.

Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich | | #grilledcheese #bacon #turkey

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?! ;-)

Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich | | #grilledcheese #bacon #turkey

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.

Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich | | #grilledcheese #bacon #turkey

What is your favorite wine and cheese pairing?

Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The Bluegrass State classic open face turkey, bacon and tomato sandwich is transformed into a cheesier version in this Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese.
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 4
  • 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.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter and 2 Tbsp pecorino. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, cheese, and nutmeg, stirring until mixed thoroughly.
  3. Gently fold in the turkey, bacon and tomatoes.
  4. Using the pecorino butter, butter the outside of each slice of bread, about ½ Tbsp per slice.
  5. Divide the filling between four of the slices of bread, packing it together, about a ½ cup in each.
  6. Top with another slice of buttered bread.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat.
  8. 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.


Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich | | #grilledcheese #bacon #turkey

Looking for some more fancy-pants grilled cheese? I’ve got some for you…

Basil-Balsamic-Strawberries-and-Whipped-Feta-Grilled-Cheese-title3.jpg Bacon Corn Avocado Grilled Cheese 2 title Buffalo-Chicken-Grilled-Cheese-GF-3-wm.jpg

Plus here are the rest of the wine and grilled cheese pairings for #SundaySupper…

Want to see lots more yummy food from me and my friends, and cute pictures of my kids? 

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  1. says

    I’ve never had the traditional hot brown, but I think I’ll skip over that experience and go straight to your gorgeous grilled cheese version! YUM!

  2. says

    I had not heard of a Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich before and loved reading how you included the traditional ingredients into your delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Kentucky, the hub of grilled cheese? Why not!!

  3. says

    Love how you reinvented a classic! When I saw what you were creating, I couldn’t wait to see what you were up to. You definitely didn’t disappoint!

  4. says

    Sounds like you and your husband vacation the same way Jeff and I do :) We’re always thinking about where we’ll eat next! This sandwich looks decadently heavenly. But I’ll pretend it’s healthy since there is Greek yogurt in there!

  5. says

    This looks like the ultimate comfort food! Love how gooey it looks. I’ve never tried a Hot Brown, but grilled cheese has always been one of my favorites. I’m positive that this would be an instant hit in my household!

  6. says

    I am sad to say that I have yet to travel to Kentucky and kind of embarrassed to say that I’ve never heard of a hot brown. But the original sounds wonderful and your grilled cheese sounds fabulous, Brianne! I am a huge fan of grilled cheese in all its forms.

  7. says

    That sounds a lot like L and I, except we’re fascinated with how things work and we especially love watching moving parts of mechanical objects. (L’s a mechanical engineer, and I just like tinkering with things) This sandwich looks amazing, thanks for sharing :)

  8. says

    Should I admit that I’d never heard of a Kentucky Hot Brown until now? It sounds amazing, and your sandwich looks so creamy, gooey, and perfect!

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