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It's Kentucky Derby Time!

I've lived in Kentucky my entire life, and I have been to the Derby! It was during college, and we were on a blanket in the infield. I would love to go again and actually be seated in the stands this time.

Besides the beautiful horses and ladies' hats, people next think of Mint Juleps, Kentucky Hot Browns, and Derby Pie!

Well, lavender is in the mint family, so we have to add it to our Kentucky Mint Julep!

Fill a julep cup with 6 mint leaves and 2 ounces lavender simple syrup. There are many types of mint that could be used to add an even bigger twist to this classic drink including pineapple, chocolate, or apple mint. We prefer the apple mint.

Muddle until leaves are crushed. Fill glass with crushed ice and pour 3 ounces of bourbon over the ice. Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint and purple straws.

Although Kentucky Hot Browns were first created in Louisville, the entire state has adopted the tradition and has come up with some interesting variations. That's actually what this post is about; let's take a look at the many ways you can serve hot browns at your derby party.

A classic Kentucky Hot Brown consists of turkey, tomato, mornay sauce, and bacon basically served as an open-faced sandwich.

Take that combination of ingredients and serve it on toast, in a fillo shell, a wonton, or baked in crescent dough to make a pinwheel.

We especially like this recipe from using sun dried tomatoes. Let's face it, fresh juicy tomatoes won't be ready till late summer.

4 slices bacon

1 French Baguette

1 1/2 cups roast turkey, chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes oil packed, drained and finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 bag of Sargento Savory Garlic & Herb Jack Snack Bites

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Chop the bacon and cook in hot skillet over med-high heat until done. Drain bacon bits on paper towel and reserve the rendered fat.

Slice the baguette into 1/3" slices. Arrange on a baking sheet, then lightly baste one side with bacon fat. Flip that side down.

Mix together chopped turkey and sun-dried tomatoes. Arrange on tops of bread slices.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stir, then immediately add milk. Whisk briskly until smooth and sauce has a gravy like consistency. Add the Sargento Snack Bites and stir until fully dissolved.

Ladle the sauce over the bread and turkey. Top with the bacon.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until edges and bits of the cheese sauce are nicely browned. Garnish with scallions.

Of course, dips are always a hit at any party. You can serve this one from in a bread bowl!

1 large round bread loaf

1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

4 strips cooked bacon, chopped

2 slices deli turkey, chopped

Chopped tomatoes and green onions for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Hollow out the bread bowl. (bread scraps could be used as dippers)

In a bowl cream together cream cheese and sour cream until combined.  Mix in crispy bacon, roasted turkey, and cheddar cheese. Pour filling into the bread bowl.

Cover the bread bowl with foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 45-50 minutes.  The cheese will begin to brown.  Remove the foil and broil until the cheese has browned and bubbles. 


Sprinkle chopped tomatoes and green onions over the cheese just before serving.

The classic Kentucky Hot Brown is meant to be served as the main entree, but it doesn't just have to take its classic form. It can be presented as sliders, a pasta bake, a quiche, pizza, or even a burger!

Oh, and we have found just a few more variations to serve as a side--soup, grilled cheese, baked potato, and mac and cheese!

No matter how you decide to present your hot brown this Derby Day, you know you need to end the festivities with a Derby Pie! Chocolate, Bourbon, and Pecans--Trifecta!

Enjoy the Derby!

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