by Alison Hein
My husband and I are back from our extended Caribbean stay – back home (good) and back to the cold (not so much). Wintry weather calls for homey comfort food, so when Kevin requested chili for dinner, I was quick to comply. In my world, a bowl of mouth-burning, spicy chili is not complete without a fresh-from-the-oven batch of buttery corn bread. It’s so easy to make your own, with multitudes of personalization options. Sometimes I make it unsweetened, or zest it up and make Lime-Cilantro Corn Bread with Honey Butter. This time, though, I just made straight up old-fashioned corn bread – the perfect foil for our fiery stew.
In the morning, I decided to use some of the corn bread for our morning meal. But what? Then it came to me: a play on Hot Browns, the legendary late-night breakfast dish from The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. I switched it up a little, omitting the turkey and using Irish bacon. Just wait for that hot, bubbly, bacony dish to come out of the oven. Just wait for a legendary Hot Brown breakfast in bed.
Learn more about the historic Brown Hotel and see the original Hot Brown Recipe here:
2 thick pieces of corn bread
1 Roma tomato
2 – 4 slices Irish (or Canadian) Bacon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
Paprika, for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
Slice corn bread pieces in half, and place two each into two oven-proof dishes. Cut Roma tomato into four thick slices, and place one tomato slice on top of each piece of corn bread. In the meantime, fry bacon over medium low heat to a crispy brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.
To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Pour half of the cheese mixture over each dish of corn bread, covering bread and tomatoes completely.
Broil Hot Browns 6 inches from heat, until cheese sauce is bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 1 minute. Top each dish with a slice or two of crispy Irish bacon, sprinkle with paprika, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.