Before going vegetarian, hot brown, made famous in Kentucky, by the The Brown Hotel in Louisville, was always an okay dish with me, but not to be listed among my favorites. I had never thought that hot brown could possibly be vegetarian considering its main ingredients were ham, turkey, and bacon, but the vegetarian version is definitely one of my favorites.
A friend told me about a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky, called Stella’s, and how the vegetarian hot brown was her favorite dish there. So, I tried it. It was great. Therefore, as I usually do, I did my best to come up with my own version at home, down to making my own sprouts. The hot brown pictured above is my own version. It is always a little different depending on the veggies on hand. The tomatoes in the picture came out of our garden.
Various vegetables, chopped finely – Some good ones are squash, zucchini, broccoli, onions (the tops of green ones look pretty), red bell peppers, tomatoes. I will stop here as these are my favorites, but use what you like.
Sprouts – optional, but they do had a health aspect to the dish, and personally I love sprouts on a variety of things.
Bread Slices – a good bread makes the difference
Mornay Sauce (recipe below)
You will find it on this site:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the and whisk in the cheese. Serve hot
Note: For my mornay sauce I use gruyere cheese, and I sometimes add more than called for. My husband loves cheese. Also, I grind mixed peppercorns, as I’ve never purchased just white.
Saute chopped up veggies, except tomato, in high heat oil until tender. I use safflower. Use just enough oil to get the job done. You could use a little water if you are trying to avoid oils.
While veggies are sauteing, make mornay sauce. It doesn’t take long. Next step, toast bread slices. You could use either one or two per person.
Place toast on plates. Spread veggies over toast. Pour mornay sauce on top of that. Top with chopped tomatoes and sprouts. Salt to taste (sea salt).
This is the dish from Stella’s that inspired it.