When my dad comes to visit, I always try to make him something new that I hope will knock his socks off. Fortunately, that’s not hard to do for several reasons:
- He’s the original foodie.
- He loves to eat.
- He eats a lot.
- He’ll eat almost anything. Really.
I came across this recipe for Hot Browns, which apparently is a southern dish. Being a Northern girl I didn’t know what they were at first either. but when I watched Damaris Phillips make them on the Food Network, I knew immediately that Dad would eat these up. Literally. And he did. What’s not to love? Bacon, cheese sauce, turkey, tomatoes. All ingredients that when mixed together well create culinary magic.
When Damaris made it, she used cute individual dishes. However, since I didn’t have them, I made it in a 9×13 pan. And, knowing how much my dad was probably going to eat, I doubled the recipe.
- 1 bone-in turkey breast (between 4 and 5 pounds)
- 8 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces bacon, cut into pieces
- 30 or so grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
- 4 slices stale sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (a heaping 4 cups total)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Rub the turkey breast gently with 4 teaspoons of the oil; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 160 degrees° F. My turkey, which was just shy of 5 pounds, took about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let rest.
Fry the bacon until crisp then drain on a paper towel.
Lower the oven temperature to 250°. Coat the tomatoes with the remaining 4 teaspoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes cut-sides up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until they start to dehydrate and wrinkle, about 45 minutes. Doing this really brings out the flavor of the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes are cooking, start the cheese sauce. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the milk to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir continuously so the roux doesn’t scorch, about 2 minutes. When the milk starts to simmer, slowly add it to the roux, stirring continuously so lumps don’t form. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the Cheddar and red peppers and stir until smooth. Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
You are now ready to assemble the dish. Heat the broiler. Distribute the bread cubes evenly among the 9×13 pan. Cut the turkey into bite-size pieces, about 1/2 inch each, and layer on top of the bread. Pour the cheese sauce over the bread and turkey then top with the tomatoes and bacon pieces. I added just a bit more shredded cheddar. Place under the broiler on the bottom rack of the oven until golden and bubbly. It’ll take about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
If you are the observant type, you may have noticed that there are no red peppers in my sauce. That’s because when I went to get them out of the refrigerator, they had grown hair. But the next time I make this, I’ll add the peppers.
If you try this let me know how it turned out. We had no leftovers. You may not either.