"Hot Brown" Casserole

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Tempeh Bacon:

8 ounces (225 grams) organic tempeh

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) soy sauce

2 tablespoons liquid smoke

2 tablespoons hot sauce

4 to 6 tablespoons (55 to 80 grams) salted butter

"Hot Brown" Casserole:

20 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound (455 grams) vegetarian turkey breast roast, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes

2 1/2 (600 milliliters) cups whole milk

4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter

1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour

1 cup (115 grams) shredded smoked Gouda cheese

2 ounces (55 grams) or 4 tablespoons chopped banana peppers

4 cups (220 grams) cubed stale or toasted bread (1-inch/2.5-centimeter pieces)

1/2 cup (50 grams) grated Parmesan cheese

8 cooked tempeh bacon slices, crumbled


  1. For the tempeh bacon: Slice the tempeh lengthwise into sixteen to twenty pieces and lay them in a 9 by 13-inch (23 by 33-centimeter) baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, liquid smoke, and hot sauce, then pour over the tempeh. Marinate for 15 to 30 minutes. Much of the liquid will be absorbed.
  2. Carefully and working in batches if necessary, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the tempeh bacon until very dark and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (I flip them using two forks so they don’t break.) add butter to the pan as needed. Remove from the skillet and place on a wire rack to cool.
  3. For the "hot brown" casserole: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Coat the tomatoes with 2 teaspoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes cut sides up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until they start to dehydrate and wrinkle, about 45 minutes.
  5. While the tomatoes are cooking, put the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a saute pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Add the turkey substitute and sear until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
  6. To make the Mornay sauce: Warm the milk over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Put the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir continuously so the roux doesn't scorch, about 2 minutes. Whisk the warm milk into the roux, stirring continuously so lumps don't form. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the Gouda and the banana peppers and stir until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. When the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  7. You are now ready to assemble the dish. Distribute the bread cubes evenly in the bottom of an 8-inch (20-centimeter) square casserole dish. Layer in the substitute turkey pieces. Pour the Mornay sauce over the top and then top with the tomato halves. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and tempeh bacon slices. Bake on the top rack of the oven until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it set up for 10 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Note

Got leftover Tempeh Bacon? Use it to make a TLT sandwich, serve it with eggs, dice it and sprinkle it over a baked potato or chop it and toss it with pasta. Carnivore version: Replace the turkey substitute with 1 pound (455 grams) diced turkey breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute with 2 teaspoons oil until golden brown and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Replace the tempeh bacon with 8 crispy bacon slices. All the other steps and cooking times remain the same.

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