Kentucky Hot Brown Bites

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A variation of Welsh rarebit, the hot brown was invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926. It’s turkey and bacon smothered in a mornay sauce and baked/broiled until bubbly. Tomatoes and some herbs add freshness. But how to miniaturize it? For this, I turned to Tennessee-native Reese Witherspoon for inspiration. Her book, Whiskey in a Teacup, is full of charming stories, helpful etiquette lessons and delightful southern recipes like this one. These are best served straight from the oven with an ice cold mint julep on the side.

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Kentucky Hot Brown Bites (adapted from Whiskey in a Teacup)

5 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 turkey breast, roasted or pan-seared, chopped
4 cooked bacon slices, finely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh diced tomatoes
Flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silpat. Spoon parmesan by the tablespoon onto the baking sheets 1/2 an inch apart. Bake for 7-9 minutes until lightly browned on the edges.

2. Transfer the rounds into a miniature muffin pan, pressing down gently to create shells. Repeat with the second baking sheet.

3. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. In another saucepan, melt butter. Whisk flour into the butter and cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the warm milk and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, until thickened. Lower the heat and add the shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.

4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Place a few pieces of turkey and a teaspoon of the cheese sauce into the shells. Bake for five minutes. Remove the shells and top with bacon, tomatoes and parsley.

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