Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Hot Brown Pizza Pie!

Hot damn, it's a Hot Brown Pizza
The first Saturday in May is always a grand day of traditional Southern pursuits.  All in celebration of the fastest two minutes in sports, the "Run for the Roses", the Kentucky Derby.  Many fine Southern women search for weeks to find the perfect Derby chapeau, the more outlandish the better. It is one occasion that we can match the British with our elaborate millinery. Large and small parties are planned weeks before the race.  Mint will become scarce and vanish from the grocer's shelves in preparation for the flowing libations featuring Kentucky's finest bourbon. Traditionalists will plan on serving the legendary Hot Brown sandwich with their mint juleps.  A Hot Brown is a celebrated sandwich created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville Kentucky during the 1920's to feed the many late night reveler after a night of dancing.  It is said that the dancing guests would end the evening festivities in the Hotel restaurant and would be famished.  Chef Schmidt created the Hot Brown to satisfy the demanding crowd who was weary of ham and eggs. It is traditionally made with thick slices of toast, topped with turkey, slices of tomato, dressed with cheesy mornay sauce and crisp rashers of bacon.
I have for years made Hot Browns at home, the traditional way. This year, however, I decided to shake things up a bit and use all the traditional ingredients in a new way.  It was a rousing success.  
May I present....my version of a Derby pie, the "Hot Brown Pizza."


  • One thin crust Boboli pizza crust
  • 1/3 lb. of thick cut roasted turkey breast, from the deli, diced
  • 7 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 ugli tomato, seeded, cut in dice
  • 1 cup of highly seasoned mornay sauce see below
  • 3/4 cup of shredded 4 cheese blend
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Place Pizza stone in oven to heat for at least fifteen minutes.  The pizza stone preheated to smoking hot is crucial to creating a nice crisp to a pre-baked bread shell.

Make Mornay sauce while the pizza stone heats.  Heat 1 1/2 tbsp. of unsalted butter and 1 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil over low heat in a large saucepan.  Whisk in 3 tbsp. of flour and cook a few minutes.  In a small sauce pan, heat 1 cup of 1 % milk with one half of an onion, a bay leaf, and some whole black peppercorns, over gentle heat, do not scald. Strain hot milk into a quart measuring cup and add one teaspoon of chicken base and stir to mix.  Off the heat, stir the hot milk into the butter/oil/flour mixture.  Back over low heat, cook slowly until thickened.  Add 1 tsp of worchestershire sauce, 1 tbsp of dijon mustard and one cup of shredded parmesan cheese.  Stir well, reserve.

Pull heated stone from oven.  Quickly spread the thick mornay sauce over the crust.  Top with turkey, bacon and tomatoes.  Cover pie generously with finely shredded cheese.  Bake in hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  Watch carefully, you don't want it to burn.

It was gobbled up by the family in nearly the same amount of time it takes to run the race.  This recipe is a "Winning" bet.

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