The Kentucky Derby Festival begins two weeks prior to the first Saturday in May. The festival is Kentucky's largest single annual event and is a festive build-up for the famous Kentucky Derby. The first festival was held in 1935 and ran till 1937. In 1956 it started up again and has been going strong since. The tradition of having Burgoo and Mint Juleps is something looked forward to with great enthusiasm.
This is a well-loved tradition of the Derby. Spectators gather in the infield and party with the traditional drink and popular dish that is so looked forward to.
Burgoo is a thick stew usually made with chicken, beef, pork, or mutton and is a spicy, very flavorful meal. It is similar to an Irish Mulligan stew. There is no standard of which meats or spices are used, so the taste varies between chefs, restaurants and home recipes by individual cooks. The following recipe will serve twelve to sixteen people.
You will need:
8 - 12 pounds meat cut into bite size pieces (this can be just one type of meat or a mix of pork, beef, chicken)
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stems, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 quart each of chicken and beef stocks
1 can of tomatoes, 28 oz, crushed
1 pound bag of frozen corn
5 - 8 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle hot sauce, like Tabasco, to sit on table for individual preference use
Black Pepper to taste
In an eight quart or larger size soup pot heat oil on medium-high heat. Salt all the meats well on all sides. When oil is hot, brown the meats, a little at a time -- do not dump the meats in all at once, or they will not brown in a timely manner. If the pot is crowded with meats, steam will form and the meat will not brown properly. Place all browned meats in a bowl.
When all meats are browned, put onion, celery, carrots, and pepper in the pot and brown them all. Add more oil if needed. Salt the vegetables just a little when they are cooking. Add garlic and let mixture cook about 30 seconds longer.
Return meats to pot and add the broths and tomatoes, stirring to mix well. Bring to a simmer then cover and reduce heat. Gently simmer for two hours.
While stew is simmering, prepare mashed potatoes either by your regular method or instant. You want the mashed potatoes hot, so do not prepare them too early.
Add Worcestershire sauce to the stew and mix well. Add corn, mix gently and cook another ten minutes or so. Taste to see if more salt or Worcestershire sauce is needed.
Serve hot with mashed potatoes and garlic bread.