A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Kentucky Burgoo

By on May 7, 2012
Kentucky Burgoo

Kentucky Burgoo

OK.  I admit it.  You are getting this great recipe AFTER the Kentucky Derby.  It’s a great traditional Kentucky recipe for a stew served at Kentucky Derby parties,  but let me tell you. It’s worth knowing.  Even if the Derby has passed into history for another year.  What was that winning horse’s name?  “I’ll have another”.  Believe me.  Once you taste the state dish of Kentucky, you’ll be saying “I’ll have another” too.  Only you’ll mean another bowl of this nourishing stew.

Kentucky Derby 2012

A first cousin to Virginia Brunswick stew,  the origins of this dish are lost in the mists of time.  Some say it’s a cousin to the French “Ragout”.  Others say it’s a shortening or the word “barbecue”, but whatever.  Make this lovely rich stew that starts off by combining several meats in a pot to boil together, and you’ll be hooked.  this is a stew to keep in your repertoire.  Like a lot of traditional foods,  its a mix of lovely lean meats,  a variety of fresh and preserved vegetables, and the most basic sensible seasonings.  And  by my lights,  that’ s a winner.  Even a Kentucky Derby Winner.  Let’s hear it for the Burgoo.  First Place.  Triple Crown.  Pass your bowl.  I’ll have another, thank you very much. And what’s left over, you can serve again, or even freeze.

Yes.  here’s To Kentucky’s state dish,  the Burgoo.  Long may it reign and not just in its old Kentucky home. And congratulations to “Let’s Have Another”. That was quite a thrilling race.

Kentucky Derby Burgoo


roadkill of your choice: rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, armadillo, possom, coon (optional)
1 piece pork sausage (kielbasa or Italian sweet)
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 beef chuck steak, about 2 pounds
1 (3-4-pound) chicken
8 quarts cold water
12 small red potatoes
2 large yellow onions, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 cups whole corn, fresh cut from the cob, frozen or canned
2 pods red pepper
2 cups diced okra
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 cups fresh or frozen lima beans
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
Sea Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Tabasco to taste
1/2 cupWorcestershire sauce

1. Put the meats a large pot. Add the water and bring it to a boil slowly. Simmer until meat is tender enough to fall off the bones, about 1 hour.
2. 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.
3. Pare the potatoes and onions and dice them. Add them, plus the carrots, green peppers, cabbage, tomato, corn, red pepper, okra, parsley, lima beans, celery, and bourbon, to the meat and stock. Allow the stew to simmer until very thick about 2-3 hours.
4. Season to taste with the salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce.

Pin It




Linda Eckhardt

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”