Recipe From The Heart XXII

Louisville’s Brown Hotel is one of North America’s treasures,  a showcase of breathtaking turn-of-the-century architecture. It’s the birthplace of  the world-famous Hot Brown, Chef Fred Schmidt’s open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. We drop in Key Largo’s Fish House Encore Restaurant for Conch Chowder, while enjoying the breathtaking view from the Overseas Highway.  Next is a genuine feast featuring a Hungarian masterpiece, Spicy Chicken Parikash. Wine? A Greek varietal from Australia you’ll find amazing.

Enjoy Key Largo cuisine along the Overseas Highway.

We’ve been sharing recipes for almost six months. Each week’s edition salutes the diversity of American cuisine, occasionally incorporating some local color and history, while alternately featuring creations by legends and home chefs.  Good food, whether enjoyed with loved ones or alone, is gratifying, a needed interlude from the toils of today’s difficulties, often a reminder of people and places deep in our memories.

Conch Chowder

The Fish House Encore Restaurant, Key Largo, Florida.

Conch Chowder, rooted in the Bahamas, is popular in the Florida Keys.

Chef Peter Tselikis


1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 lb ground conch
1 cup V8 juice
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup clam juice
1 cup sherry wine
1 oz dry chicken base
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dry oregano
3 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste


In a soup pot, add olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Turn heat to high, add onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, cayenne pepper and bay leaves, stir well.

Add 1/2 cup sherry wine, cook for 3 minutes. Add V8 juice, clam juice and chicken base and bring to a boil. Turn heat lower and simmer for 25 minutes. Add 1/2 cup remaining sherry and ground conch, bring to a boil, cook for 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and serve. You can also serve sherry on the side to accent.

The Hot Brown

A Louisville legend, The Hot Brown

Chef Fred Schmidt

The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky


(Makes Two Hot Browns) 
2 oz. Whole Butter
2 oz. All Purpose Flour
8 oz. Heavy Cream
8 oz. Whole Milk
½ Cup of Pecorino Romano Cheese
Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to Taste
14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast, Slice Thick
4 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Slices of Crispy Bacon
2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half


In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium?low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream and whole milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2?3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place two slices of toast with the crusts cut off in an oven safe dish – one slice is cut in half corner to corner to make two triangles and the other slice is left in a square shape – then cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place the entire dish in the oven. Suggested bake time is 20 minutes at 350º. When the cheese begins to brown and bubble, remove from oven, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Spicy Chicken Paprikash

Hungarian comfort food for American palates.

Tina Thomas, Atlanta

 Chicken Paprikash is traditional Hungarian comfort food. Tina Thomas, a 3rd generation Hungarian-American says she “grew up on Chicken Paprikash. Every Hungarian-American family has their own recipe. My version,” she adds, “is inspired by both my 18 years in Los Angeles where I developed a love for the heat of Mexican food and my desire to make this comfort food just a tiny bit healthier by using boneless skinless chicken breasts.”

This recipe works best served over nokedli (Hungarian dumplings, similar to spätzle, just smaller).  You May substitute small pasta shells or rice. Small shells act like little cups to hold all that paprikash goodness!


Seasoned Flour Mix (If you are not going to serve over nokeldi, reduce amounts to about ¼ of the recipe)
4 Cups flour
3 tsp Sweet Hungarian Paprika
3 tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 ¼ Cup Seasoned Flour Mix
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts – cut into 1” pieces
1 large onion – diced
4 tsp Olive oil
3 tsp Butter – Divided into 1T pieces
1 32oz carton low sodium chicken broth
1Cup Sour Cream
2 ¾ Cup Seasoned Flour Mix
2 eggs
Dash of salt
1 Cup water


In a 10’ sauté pan, sauté onions in a little olive oil until translucent

Remove from pan to a bowl large enough to hold both the onions and the chicken, after cooking

Coat chicken pieces in seasoned flour mixture

Add 1tsp butter and olive oil to pan on medium-high heat.

When butter has melted and is just beginning to sizzle, add first batch of chicken. (I like to cook the chicken in about 3 batches to maintain control of my chicken.)

Sear each piece on all sides. (By the time you fill your pan, it’s time to start flipping.)

After each side is browned, add to the bowl with the cooked onions

Add another tablespoon of butter and olive oil to the pan

Bring back to heat and repeat with the rest of the chicken

After all the chicken is seared, you should have a nice layer of tasty bits on the bottom of the pan. Add a little chicken both and scrape those up into the broth. Fancy folks might call this deglazing…

Add the onions and chicken back to the pan

Add the rest of the chicken broth

Cover, bring to a boil

Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (About 20 minutes, but there’s no harm in letting it simmer longer.)

While the paprikash is simmering, make your nokedli.

Bring approx. 2 qts of water to a boil

Mix all ingredients together to get a slightly runny dough

If you don’t have a nokedli or spätzle maker, you can make the nokedli by dropping the dough through a colander or slotted spoon into the boiling water.

Boil for 5 -7 minutes

Drain and set aside

Time to finish your paprikash.

If your sauce looks a little thin for your liking, you can thicken it with some of the leftover seasoned flour or a bit of cornstarch. (I’ve had paprikash that is almost as thin as a broth but I prefer mine more like a gravy.)

Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream

Serve over the nokedli

Wine Suggestion: Assyrtiko is a varietal native to the Greek island of Santorini but Jim Barry’s winery, located in Australia’s Clare Valley, has provided the ancient wine grape a new home. It doesn’t have the same saline character as in Greece but there is plenty of zesty lime and aromas of wet stones, white flowers and jasmine. On the palate it is crisp and fresh with some white orchard fruits. If you want a change from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, you are in for a rewarding dinner experience.

Stay Safe. Eat Well. Love One Another.

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