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Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich recreates the classic open-faced sandwich filled with turkey and bacon becomes this cheesy sandwich that is a kid-friendly family favorite. Creamy, cheesy goodness filled with turkey, bacon, and tomatoes, oozing out from between two buttery pecorino-encrusted slices of bread transforms the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich into a traditional comfort food that is perfect for Kentucky Derby Day or any day.
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.
Grilled Cheese Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich Recipe
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.
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, 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 Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Popcorn. And now, the Hot Brown sandwich. Not only did I make Kentucky Hot Brown Dip, but I also made this recipe.
Obviously this Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich is inspired by the Kentucky classic dish that bears the same name.
What is a Hot Brown?
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 made the cheese the star player in this ulltimate Kentucky Hot Brown grilled cheese recipe for National Grilled Cheese Month.
How do you Make a Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese?
- Mix the grated pecorino cheese with softened butter and set aside. This will be spread on the brwad to give it the same golden brown crust as a traditional Kentucky Hot Brown.
- Start with leftover cooked turkey, such as leftovers from Slow Cooker BBQ Rubbed Turkey Breast and just a bit of crumbled bacon.
- Shred sharp cheddar cheese and combine with Greek yogurt to resemble the creaminess of the béchamel sauce.
- Mix the turkey, bacon, and chopped tomatoes into the cheese mixture and place between two slices of bread that have been coated with the pecorino butter.
- White, whole wheat, gluten free, or any bread will work well.
- Cook in a pan with olive oil until golden brown and melty on the inside.
- This grilled cheese sandwich pairs well with a Chardonnay such as Gallo Family Chardonnay, since it typically pairs well with poultry dishes and cream sauces. It is the perfect complement to the richness of this sandwich.
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, this Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese disappeared almost as fast as I put it on their plates.
Give it a try and imagine you are noshing on wine and cheese in France or Italy or California Wine Country or… Kentucky?! 😉
Looking for some more fancy-pants grilled cheese? I’ve got some for you…
- Basil Balsamic Strawberries & Whipped Feta Grilled Cheese is sweet, salty, tangy, and so delicious.
- The Bug’s Ultimate Bacon, Corn & Avocado Grilled Cheese combines rich and creamy avocado with the crunch of fresh summer corn.
- Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese featured everyone’s favorite spicy chicken.
For some more southern flavor, try Pimento Granny Smith Grilled Cheese from A Spicy Perspective. Grilled Cheese Hot Dogs from The Baker Mama is another fun way to combine two favorite into one grilled cheese sandwich. Or kick it up with Cajun Grilled Cheese from Spicy Southern Kitchen.
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Make Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese and get ready for a Derby Day Party…
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Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 2 Tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese (can substitute parmesan)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (can substitute parmesan)
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped cooked turkey breast
- 4 slices bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
- 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
- 8 slices of your favorite sandwich bread (white, whole wheat, and gluten free bread are all fine)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided if you are cooking the sandwiches in batches in a smaller pan
- In a small bowl, combine the butter and 2 Tablespoons pecorino romano cheese. 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 1/2 Tablespoon per slice.
- Divide the filling between four of the slices of bread, packing it together, about a 1/2 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.
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
- 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