Sunday, December 6, 2009

Leftover Turkey- Hot Brown Casserole

I finally have a minute to sit and breathe (and write). The days really are packed now, and flying by so quickly. This probably has as much to do with the shorter period of daylight as it does my ever-growing "to do" list, but I do not feel much in control lately. And I really do not like not being in control!

Before I start posting my holiday baking, one last recipe using leftover turkey. While most of us have either disposed of (somehow) or frozen whatever leftovers we had from Thanksgiving, there is Christmas coming up with the opportunity to roast yet another bird. And who can have too many leftover turkey recipes?

This recipe is for a variation of a Hot Brown Sandwich. Named after a hotel restaurant in Louisville, KY earlier in the last century (I'm thinking the 1930's?), it is a perfect turkey-leftover dish. Warm turkey slices are placed over toast, then a creamy, cheesy sauce poured over. It is then broiled until the (more) cheese sprinkled on top browns, and served with bacon and tomato. It really is quite delicious.

But it is fussy. I don't have broiler-proof dishes, so I have to make each serving on a baking tray, then transfer (invariably, dripping sauce all the way) to plates.

I found this recipe for a Hot Brown Casserole and gave it a try. Delicious, and so much easier to get it together!

Hot Brown Casserole

3/4 C butter
3/4 C flour
2 eggs
6 C milk

2 C grated extra sharp cheddar (like Cabots)
1/4 C heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
16 slices bread (white or whole wheat)

16 thin slices roast turkey
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 bacon slices
1 C tomato, seeded & diced

Heat oven to 350.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add flour,(med heat) stirring to make a roux. Cook 2 to 3 min. Beat eggs well and beat into milk. While stirring, very slowly add milk mixture into butter mixture. Use whisk to keep flour from lumping. If it lumps keep stirring in milk--it will loosen. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese. Stir to melt cheese, then add cream,
salt & pepper to taste.

Toast bread until golden. Line the bottom of a 9-13-2 inch casserole (6 slices), and an 8 by 8 by 2 inch (2 slices) with toast trimmed to fit. Cut remaining slices of toast into triangles with crust
removed and set aside. Top toast with slices of turkey. Cover turkey with sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan and paprika. Place in oven for 15 min or until golden brown. While casserole is baking fry bacon, cut in half , until crisp. Drain. Dice tomatoes into small bits.

Remove from oven, cover with bacon strips, sprinkle with tomato, and cover with toast points. Serves 8 with a salad.

Modified from Sarah Fritsghner's Derby 101.

Okay, you all know that I am going to make a few tweaks to make it healthier, and here goes.

I used, instead of a roux (flour and butter base for a cream sauce), a very acceptable substitute of a sauce made with skim milk and thickened with cornstarch. And you do not need all of that cheese! The sauce has a lovely, delicate, cheesy flavor, and that's all that is necessary, plus sprinkling the Parm on top before broiling adds another nice, salty cheese flavor to each bite. And adding an egg yolk makes the flavor a little richer.

Subbing skim milk and lowfat half-and-half is a no-brainer. Also, I subbed turkey bacon (chopped to make it easier to eat a piece with each bite). And I added the sherry because the Brown Hotel's original recipe used it and it adds a nice flavor.

And no salad, we think that the taste of good ol' green peas is wonderful with the other flavors.

MY Hot Brown Casserole

* Exported from MasterCook *

Lightened Hot Brown Casserole

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

4 slices whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups skim milk
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 large egg
2 ounces lowfat cheddar cheese -- shredded (I used Cabot's 50% light)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lowfat half & half
1 tablespoon dry sherry
5 ounces turkey breast slices
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
2 slices turkey bacon, Kutztown brand
1 cup chopped tomato
2 teaspoons chopped parsley -- optional

Preheat oven to 350F

Toast the bread. Place the toast in the bottom of an 8"x8" baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and remove from heat. Pour in the milk and whisk (the butter may solidify a bit, but that's okay). Turn the heat to medium and, while whisking vigorously, sprinkle in the flour. Whisk very frequently as the mixture warms up then, as it begins to thicken, whisk continuously to prevent lumps until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down a bit and cook, still whisking, for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and, still whisking vigorously, slowly dribble in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to warm the beaten egg. Turn the heat under the milk mixture to medium and slowly pour in the egg, whisking to keep the mixture smooth. Return to barely a boil, still whisking. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese. After cheese melts, stir in the cayenne, lowfat half & half, and sherry. Season with white pepper and salt to taste.

Top the toast slices with the turkey. Cover with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and paprika and bake for about 10 minutes, or until bubbly.

While the casserole is in the oven, cook the bacon and chop coarsely.

After the casserole is ready, if desired, place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown.

Divide mixture between two plates. Sprinkle with bacon and chopped tomato. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with additional toast points, if desired.

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Per serving: 509 Calories (kcal); 16g Total Fat (7g Saturated); (28% calories from fat); 44g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 174mg Cholesterol; 1904mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : Original recipe, per serving- 778 calories, 44g total fat, 25g saturated, 2539 sodium, 2g fiber.