Kentucky Burgoo

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You can tell how beloved burgoo is by the number of web pages that exist about it, and by the enthusiasm Kentuckians exhibit when they talk about it. A very hearty, multi-layered stew traditionally cooked over a wood fire in iron kettles, burgoo can also be made indoors on the stovetop. This recipe comes from "Racing to the Table: A Culinary Tour of Sporting America," by Margaret Guthrie (Eclipse Press, 2002).

Serve steaming bowls of burgoo with bread or crackers. To add zip, sprinkle on some bottled hot sauce or red pepper flakes, too.


  • 3-4 tablespoons organic canola oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 pound Organic Prairie Boneless Sirloin Steak, cut into cubes
  • 1 Organic Prairie Chicken, cut up (2 1/2 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 2 12 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 10 ounces butter beans (limas may be substituted)
  • 12 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups diced potatoes (Yukon Gold, Finn or other boiling potato)
  • 3 sticks celery (with leaves), chopped fine
  • 1 small onion, stuck with 12 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 14 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 fresh corn ears, cut off the cob (or 10 ounces frozen corn)
  • 10 ounces okra
  • 12 cup red wine


Using a heavy-bottomed stewing kettle, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat, brown the lamb shanks and the beef in 2-3 tablespoons of the oil. You may have to brown the meat in batches. When the meat is browned, remove to a platter and brown the chicken. Put all the meat back in the kettle and add 2 quarts water.

Using another saucepan, cook the onions in the remaining oil until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Add the onions, garlic and salt to the meat and simmer, covered, over low heat until the meat is tender and falling off the bones 1 1/2 2 hours. (The stew should be just barely simmering as it cooks.)

Remove meat to a platter and when its cool enough to handle, remove skin, bones and any cartilage. Cut the meat into large chunks as it comes off the bones. Return meat to the kettle.

Add tomatoes, carrots, butter beans, parsley, potatoes, celery, and onion stuck with cloves. Add the bay leaves and red pepper flakes; cover the pot and bring to low simmer. Cook until everything is tender and well-blended. Stir occasionally to be sure the burgoo is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once cooked, the burgoo should sit overnight, refrigerated, for fullest flavor.

Fifteen minutes before you are ready to serve the stew, remove the onion stuck with cloves and the bay leaves, if you can find them. Add the corn, okra, and red wine; cook 15 minutes.

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