St. Louis Prosperity Sandwich

Prosperity Sandwiches are good, straightforward food, but funnily enough, their name is apparently a snide joke. History says that President Hoover's constant Depression-era promise that "prosperity is just around the corner" provided the jokey title. (Though meat and cheese aren't exactly cheap ... so who knows.) These sandwiches, here perfected by Cook's Country, are probably from St. Louis, though they're very similar to the Hot Browns served in Louisville, Kentucky. We highly recommend subbing in turkey after Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy Cook's CountryProsperity Sandwiches
Serves 4
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 (3/4-inch-thick) slices rustic white bread
8 ounces thinly sliced roast turkey
8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
2 tomatoes, cored, cut into 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices, and patted dry

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, shallot, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in now-empty saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup cheddar, mustard, Worcestershire, and pepper; set aside.

Adjust oven rack 5 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Arrange bread slices on prepared baking sheet and broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Divide mushroom mixture among toasted bread slices. Arrange 2 ounces turkey, 2 ounces ham, and 2 slices tomato over mushrooms on each slice of toast. Spoon 1/2 cup cheese sauce evenly over each sandwich and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar. Broil until cheddar is browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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