Pittsburgh Turkey Devonshire Sandwich

Got turkey?

I got a great way for you to use up some of your Thanksgiving leftovers. That is, if you like bacon and cheese sauce. And who doesn’t (aside from our kosher and lactose intolerant friends)?

Saints Cyril & Methodius CookbookWhen “sandwich” and “Pittsburgh” are mentioned in the same sentence, the infamous Primanti Bros. sandwich is what comes to mind (yes, that’s the one with the french fries). But the Turkey Devonshire is a Pittsburgh original, too! (I have written about the sandwich before back in 2011)

I used the following recipe from the Saints Cyril & Methodius 75th Anniversary Jubilee Polish/American Cookbook (1985). I did some research to find the date the book was published. The church opened in McKees Rocks, PA in 1910; but, sadly, like a lot of other Catholic churches in and around Pittsburgh, they closed their doors in 1993 and merged with six other parishes.

Here is the recipe (courtesy of Ms. Eillen Over):

retro turkey devonshire recipe

But I don’t know if you noticed there–the recipe mentions whisking milk and broth to make the sauce, but doesn’t note how much. So I had to find another recipe to fill in the blanks.

I took to the internet and found this recipe from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (12/15/01) The link also included a little bit about the history of the sandwich.

Frank Blandi’s Original Devonshire Sandwich 

Cream Sauce

  • 3/4 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 pint chicken broth
  • 1 pint hot milk
  • 1 tsp salt

Melt butter in deep pan and add flour, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and then hot milk, stirring all the while. Add cheese and salt. Bring to boil, then cook slowly for 20 minutes, still stirring. Cool to lukewarm. Beat with wire whip until smooth before using. This makes enough sauce for 6 Devonshire sandwiches.

For each sandwich:

  • 1 slice toast, crusts trimmed off
  • 3 slices crisp bacon
  • 5 thin slices cooked turkey breast
  • Cream Sauce, recipe above
  • Melted butter 
  • Parmesan cheese and paprika 

Preheat oven to 450.

In each flat, individual oven-proof casserole dish, place 1 slice of toast and top with 3 slices bacon. Add 5 thin slices of cooked turkey breast. Cover completely with cream sauce. Sprinkle with a little melted butter, then with the combined Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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And here is the finished product: blog november 026

Long story short: if you have leftover turkey, make these. You will enjoy a Turkey Devonshire. A lot. Like, a lot. I froze the surplus cream sauce and I am looking forward to making these again.

Also, if you like this, try the famous Hot Brown sandwich. I had the pleasure of eating an authentic Hot Brown in the dining room of the Brown Hotel in Louisville, where it was invented. It was delicious and definitely one of the highlights of my road trip last fall with my mum through Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The next time I make these I might do a little hybrid and add the tomatoes to my Devonshire. It’ll be like fusion food!

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4 Responses to Pittsburgh Turkey Devonshire Sandwich

  1. phairhead says:

    Oh, no! A roux. Did your arm hold out OK?

  2. Eat The Blog says:

    Is it just me, or is the smell of foaming butter and flour for a roux magical? I would wear a perfume like that, really I would. Anyway, that looks like quite the sandwich. Elegant, almost being served open faced.

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