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12/02/2017

~ Easy Kentucky Hot Brown-Style Naan Snack Pizza ~

IMG_1106I made open-faced Kentucky hot brown sandwiches with some of my leftover Thanksgiving turkey this year.  One thing led to the next:  Kentucky hot brown macaroni and cheese.  Now, today: Kentucky hot brown naan pizza.  Admittedly, I get carried away sometimes.  Hey!  What's a gal with some high-quality, super-yummy leftovers supposed to do?  I learned something too:  My family will eat hot browns any way I can think of to prepare them.  It was a very tasty week.

IMG_0929The Kentucky hot brown, invented in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, unlike many other famous sandwiches, was no accident.  It was created, from some carefully-selected, well-thought out ingredients, to please his late-night crowd (as an alternative to the ham and eggs on toast meal that was already on his late-night menu).  It was a sort-of spin-off of the British Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (a fondue-like cheese sauce "on toast").

When Mr. Schmidt created his sandwich, roasted and sliced turkey was a rarity, as turkey was usually reserved for holiday feasts -- at the time, turkeys were only sold during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and had just become available to restaurants all year long.  What he came up with was: an open-faced sandwich consisting of oven-roasted sliced turkey on white or brioche bread, covered in Mornay (Gruyère cheese) sauce and a few pimentos or tomato slices plus a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  It goes under the boiler for a few short minutes, until the bread is toasted around the edges and the sauce is bubbly and beginning to brown. Served hot out of the broiler, crisply-fried bacon strips and a parsley garnish go on just before serving.

IMG_1004In the traditional style of the Kentucky hot brown, I didn't alter the way the hot brown mac and cheese got layered and broiled. Mornay sauce, rich with milk, Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses are a fantastic, alfredo-esque sauce for pasta.  That said, my choice to use tubular penne, instead of stranded fettuccini, was no accident.  The sauce flowed into the tubes of this fork-friendly pasta dish -- an integral part of keeping with a typical mac-and-cheese-inspired theme.

Stonefire naan -- It's always on hand in my kitchen.

61d8ed69be506b2fab64fc072c87c0e1I remember when Naan flatbreads first appeared in our market -- original and garlic flavor.  I remember it as being early in the 1980's.  I was well-familiar with naan, as friend and neighbor, an Indian gal, made it almost every day.  My three boys adored it, and, when Stonefire naan showed up in our grocery store, it was they who begged me to buy it.  The leap to making naan pizza as a snack for them was an easy one (they each topped their own personal pizza), and, over the years, it saved me a lot of money on pizza delivery.  

Stonefire naan is baked in a tandoor oven at high heat creating the signature bubbles and smoky flavor found in traditional naan.  Stonefire bakery is a family-owned business of over 40 years. Their flatbreads are made with traditional ingredients and baking methods, containing no synthetic dyes, artificial preservatives, trans fat or hydrogenated oils.

One 7 1/2"-8" free-form naan = a great personal pizza crust:

IMG_1065Slather 6-8 tablespoons Mornay sauce over the top:

IMG_1070Arrange 1/2 cup roasted turkey or poached chicken over sauce:

IMG_1073Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated gruyère cheese over all:

IMG_1079Top with 3-4 sliced grape tomatoes (or pimientos):

IMG_1084A sprinkling of parmigiano-reggiano:

IMG_1088One slice of crisply-fried bacon bits are nice:

IMG_1094Bake in 375° oven, until bubbly & brown, 6-8 minutes: 

IMG_1096Naan:  Never underestimate the power of snack pizza!

IMG_1117Easy Kentucky  Hot-Brown-Style Naan Snack Pizza:  Recipe yields instructions to assemble and bake one personal-sized naan pizza.

Special Equipment List:  spoon; cutting board; chef's knife;  hand-held box grater; microplane grater; pizza peel (optional)

IMG_8081Cook's Note:  From biryani to vindaloo, whenever I cook Indian fare, I can't, in good conscience, serve it without flatbread.  My Indian girlfriends have all explained to me the integral role their many varieties of flatbread (and crepes) play in their very diverse Indian culture and cuisine.  Every Indian cook knows how to make their traditional breads, and, they serve one or more types every day with almost every meal.   ~ Flatbread in a Hurry?  Easy No-Yeast Indian Naan ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)

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