Not everyone has the time (or the patience) to make a fussy Kentucky Hot Brown Benedict, or the traditional open-faced brioche sandwich that served as inspiration for it. Here’s a super simple way to enjoy all the same flavors, but in a make-ahead dip version. You’ll notice that my recipe does not mention adding salt—this is not accidental. I’ve used deli sliced turkey to keep it simple. Between that and the bacon, the recipe doesn’t need more salt.
4 slices thin uncured bacon, cut into 1/2” pieces
About 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sweet onion
3 oz. thinly sliced deli turkey, chopped into smaller pieces—about 1/2 cup packed
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Neufchatel cream cheese
1/4 cup light mayo
1/4 cup light sour cream
Small handful fresh Italian parsley, cleaned and chopped
1 small (10 oz.) can Rotel tomatoes (mild version), drained completely
3/4 cup Swiss-Gruyere cheese blend from Trader Joe’s
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese (and extra to sprinkle on top)
Freshly ground black pepper
Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
Cutting board and knife
Small non-stick skillet
Oven-safe baking dish (volume about 4 cups)*
Place cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook bacon pieces until crispy. Set aside on paper towels to drain; when cool, chop the crispy pieces into smaller, basically uniform bits.
Place small skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add chopped onions and sauté until caramelized. Add chopped turkey to the pan and continue to sauté until turkey pieces have browned edges. Set aside to cool.
In mixer bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth. Add mayonnaise and sour cream and whip again until blended, stopping once to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add Swiss-Gruyere blend, parmesan, parsley and tomatoes and mix gently until blended (don’t whip too much or tomatoes will lose their shape and turn the cream cheese pink). Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a silicone spatula to gently fold the turkey and onions, plus half of the crispy bacon, into the cream cheese mixture. Transfer the dip mixture to an oven-safe baking dish*, and top with remaining crispy bacon and another sprinkle of parmesan.
* We are still doing physical distancing (which is really bumming me out, but still necessary), so I divided the dip mixture into separate ramekins to share with friends and neighbors for their own private Virtual Kentucky Derby gatherings (of two). These adorable dishes were handed down from my grandma, and I just love them! Each holds about 1 1/4 cups of dip mixture.
Proceed with baking, or cover and store in the fridge up to 3 days, until ready to bake and serve.
Baking and Serving
Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake, loosely covered with foil, for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer, or until hot and bubbly.
Serve piping hot, spread on crackers, baguette slices or these dainty little brioche toasts I found at Trader Joe’s.