Kentucky Hot Brown for the Holidays

Ha-llo from the other si—yide!!! Hooray, it’s the holidays for me now! Just finished my ICU rotation and slept for 12-14 hours (not including the 5 hour post-call nap I took on our friends’ couch during their Star Wars movie marathon party). Still puffy around the eyeballs, but my neurons seem to be all tweeting in their proper directions now. Getting my optics on last minute present purchases, holiday dinners and figuring out where in heck all our loved ones live this year. Love to you all–the annual poems are on their way, I hope! It has been a challenging and fulfilling first half of intern year. Here was the fortune cookie message I cracked open the night before my most recent boards exam–and I think its the best sentiment a cookie has ever given me. Keep on all ye weary, there shall be rest.


Still have turkey in the freezer after Thanksgiving? I thought so! Hey, make this open-face sandwich immediately. Ah-mazing sandwich. Grilled cheese has nothing on this, you must try Broiled Cheese. KP and I had these two nights in a row. I would have gone a whole week if I hadn’t been on the other side of my troubled consciousness (in CCU, where all the what ifs have ceased to be ifs).

kentucky hot brown

Kentucky Hot Brown

Adapted from Food and Wine


2 1/4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Few dashes of hot sauce

Kosher salt



16 slices of thick-cut bacon

2 tomatoes, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon canola oil

Kosher salt


Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of day-old bread (great way to use staling bread)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 pounds roast turkey breast, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (4 1/2 ounces)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Chopped chives and chopped parsley, for garnish

kentucky hot brown turkey

Make the sauce In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in both cheeses until melted. Stir in the nutmeg and hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.

kentucky cheese
Make the sandwiches Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the bacon on a rack set over a baking sheet. Cook until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Arrange the tomato slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 6 inches from the heat until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side; keep warm.
Arrange the bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and spread each slice with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter; season with salt and pepper. Broil until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Flip the bread and toast for 1 minute.
kentucky hot brown bread
Top each toast with some turkey and a slice of tomato. Spoon the sauce on top and sprinkle on both cheeses. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to plates and top with the bacon. Garnish with chopped chives and parsley and serve hot.

kentucky hot hot hot

Haiku #348 December 14th

It’s time to sit down

and write myself a letter

of encouragement.


Haiku #349 December 15th

The haiku train is

running out of coal, and thus

out of steam—chug ah.


Haiku #350 December 16th

Either I am new,

or unfit. I cannot keep

tears out of my work.


Haiku #351 December 17th

Finally, to me

it happens. I won the game.

No patients pre-call.


Haiku #352 December 18th

You know that feeling

when you don’t know what’s wrong, well

get used to it, love.


Haiku #353 December 19th

Last night on the job

before the holidays, let

it be silent night.


Haiku #354 December 20th

Buttermilk drops dance

In my head while the call phone

Rumbles in the sheets.


Haiku #355 December 21st

Bustle is only

a verb because it rhymes with

hustle. The clinger.

3 thoughts on “Kentucky Hot Brown for the Holidays

  1. Hooray, many congratulations on having reached this moment of Christmas vacation time! I am so proud of you for doing emotionally, physically, and spiritually difficult, and such very vital work for a long stretch! No doubt the patients with whom you worked, and their loved ones who were with them at the hospital were very grateful to have you around, doing your great work and being your simply wonderful self 🙂 And I’m glad you got to kick off this break time with marathon sleep times! Thanks for all the beautiful words in your post, including the marvelous late-in-the-year haikus. Lots of love and hugs to you and KP and Izzy, early Merry Christmas to you all! XOXOXO

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