Like most of you, I relish Thanksgiving leftovers. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey legs all possess a greater depth of flavor the next day. But white meat turkey always seems to taste worse the following morning. In my mind, consuming leftover turkey breast is up there with finishing day-old fish. To help matters, I decided to try a regional dish I've always wanted to make: the legendary Kentucky Hot Brown. This warm sandwich, created at the Brown Hotel in 1926, is an open-faced wonder of roasted turkey, bacon, and tomatoes on fat toast, drizzled with luscious Mornay sauce. Nearly a century later, there are many variations, but I returned to the original, a move I don't regret. I love how the creamy, nutty Pecorino cheese sauce offsets the lean tone of turkey breast. For a Thanksgiving leftover idea you'll be making for years to come, keep reading.
Calling all home cooks: if you haven't been acquainted yet with béchamel sauce, it's time you learned a thing or two about it. Chances are you've eaten this white sauce more than a few times in your life, whether layered in moussaka, drizzled on a croque monsieur, or as a component in other classic courses. Béchamel is over 300 years old, and is such a key element of traditional French cuisine that it actually serves as the base for many other sauces (see variations after the jump). The white sauce begins with a roux, and then scalded milk is gradually added, until the consistency is smooth and thick. Once you've mastered the recipe, you can use it to make a filling for white lasagna or to mix together a cheese sauce for nontraditional nachos. What are you waiting for? Get the recipe when you read more.
Roux (pronunciation is roo)
A mixture of fat (butter, oil) and flour gently cooked together. The time allowed for the cooking determines the color of the roux. There are three types of roux—brown, blond and white—although all are made in essentially the same way by melting butter and stirring in flour. Roux is used to thicken soups and sauces and is a staple of Cajun and Creole dishes.