Kentucky Burgoo

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Photo Credit: Elise Bauer

 

Burgoo,  is  Kentucky’s most famous stew and it usually made for big gatherings such as Derby Day, church socials, barbecues and  family picnics in huge kettles. A hearty meat stew, burgoo is most often made with chicken, beef, and lamb simmered with vegetables, beans, tomatoes, Worcestershire, sorghum or molasses, ketchup, vinegar, and spices.

Burgoo predates the Civil War and as legend has it, was invented by a French chef.And in taking it’s culinary origins in that fact, the word burgoo  may have derived from the French ragout (pronounced ra-goo), also a term describing a stew.

Nineteenth-century versions of burgoo served around the South frequently included squirrel, opossum, and rabbit, and was gently simmered and stirred for up to 24 hours. Like a mulligan stew, it’s sort of a empty-the-fridge recipe. Burgoos typically have at least three different meats, and plenty of vegetables such as corn, okra, and lima beans.

While modern day cooks applaud the stamina of those early chefs, these days a good burgoo can be made in four to six hours. That is still a commitment, to be sure, but the results—spicy, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food—are worth it. Like gumbo found in Gulf Coast, burgoo has many variations. In keeping with the food theme of using Kentucky bourbon,  this  version uses bourbon in the stock, which we are certainly partial to.

As with most stews, burgoo is even better the second day. It’s excellent as a Sunday dinner when you want lunches for the coming week.

Serves 12 to 14

Ingredients:

2 pounds pork shank
2 pounds veal shank
2 pounds beef shank
2 pounds breast of lamb
One 4-pound chicken, cut into eight pieces
7 quarts cold water
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 pounds onions, diced
1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2  tablespoons  tomato paste
2  tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups whole corn, fresh or canned
2 pods red pepper
2 cups  okra, sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups dry lima beans
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to tatste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste

Directions:
Put the pork, veal, beef, lamb, and chicken into a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the water and chicken stock and bring it to a boil slowly. Simmer until meat is tender enough to fall off the bones, about 4 to 6 hours.

Lift the meat out of the stock. Cool the meat, remove it from the bones, and chop it. Return the chopped meat to the stock.

Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers, tomato tomato paste brown sugar, corn, red pepper, okra, parsley, thyme, lima beans, celery, and bourbon, to the meat and stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the stew to simmer over low heat until very thick about 6 hours.

Season to taste with the salt, pepper and serve with a good crusty bread.

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Bourbon Iced Tea

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Is there anything more Southern than sweet tea and bourbon? Well, what if you were to mix these two together that make the  ultimate Southern sipper. Pretty ingenious, right? Well this cocktail is prefect for a Sunday brunch or just simply enjoying it on a porch on a summer day…..but remember you must be over 21 to enjoy this refreshing cocktail.

 

 

Makes 1 large pitcher, serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:
Mint Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

For the tea:
3 cups water
2 or 3 black tea bags of good-quality black tea, such as City Harvest Black Tea

For the Cocktail:
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1 orange, sliced into wedges
1 cup Woodford Reserve® Bourbon
Orange slices
Ice cubes, for serving
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
Lemon wheels, for garnish

Directions:
For the mint syrup: Combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has melted. Stir in the mint and let steep 30 minutes. Strain the mint leaves and set aside.

To make the tea: Combine the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the mint syrup into a large jar. Add the tea bags to the jar and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea. If you like your tea very strong, leave the bags in the tea for 8 to 12 hours or overnight in the refrigerator, if desired.

Remove the tea bags and add the lemon, lime, and orange wedges. Pour in the bourbon. Cover the jar and chill.

For the cocktail: Rub the orange slice around the rim of highball glass and fill with ice. Pour the cocktail over the ice and garnish with the mint sprig and a lemon wheel.

A note on serving: Avoid adding ice directly to the pitcher, as it will dilute the cocktail.


Kentucky Bourbon Balls

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Photo Credit: Christin Marhling, 2018.

These boozy bite-sized treats—were developed in 1936 by Ruth Booe, co-founder of the Rebecca Ruth Candy Co. in Frankfort, Kentucky—can be rolled in powdered sugar or dipped in melted chocolate and topped with pecan halves; on the inside, the creamy center usually consists of some combination of bourbon, sugar, butter, chopped pecans, and semisweet chocolate. These trifles are chilled rather than cooked and do pack a tipsy punch, so you may wish to warn younger or teetotalling guests of their alcohol contents.

 

Makes 24

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped pecans nuts
5 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
1/2 cup butter, softened
One 16-ounce  package confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions:
Place the nuts in a resealable jar. Pour the bourbon over the nuts. Cover and allow the nuts to soak overnight.

The following day, mix the butter and sugar; fold in the soaked nuts. Form into 3/4″ balls and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and  refrigerate overnight.

The next day, line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just-barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Roll the balls in the melted chocolate to coat. Place a pecan half on top of each ball and  arrange them on the prepared tray. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.