Kentucky Burgoo Recipe
Kentucky Burgoo Recipe

Makes about 12 servings

It’s that time of year. It’s Burgoo time. What I mean is: Keeneland is open. Keeneland serves Burgoo. It’s almost Derby Week. Everyone who celebrates Kentucky’s national holiday (the Kentucky Derby, the first Saturday in May) think s Burgoo. (And mint juleps, but that’s another story.) I created this recipe on a snowy day in March. It’s not a quick recipe, but one where you first make a broth using beef, lamb, and dark-meat chicken pieces. Then you cook the vegetables in the broth and add the cooked meat. The two-step process ensures tender meat and nicely cooked vegetables. It’s even better reheated, so feel free to make this recipe ahead, and reheat before serving. Incidentally, if you’ve ever wanted to attend a Burgoo Festival, make plans for September 2009.

1 pound beef shank
1 pound boneless leg of lamb
3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken legs or thighs
1 tablespoon salt
3 quarts water
2 cups finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, or 2 (15-ounce) cans mixed vegetables, drained
One 15-ounce can butter beans, drained
8 ounces frozen sliced okra
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Generous pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh parsley 

Trim excess fat from beef shank and lamb. Place the beef, lamb, and chicken pieces in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Add salt and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Partially cover again, and contine to cook over low heat until the beef and lamb are fork-tender, about 1  1/2 more hours. Remove the beef and lamb to the plate with the chicken. Let the broth cool slightly. Strain and measure the broth. Add water if necessary to make 6 cups. Wipe the sides of the oven with a paper towel to remove any remaining skum or foam reside. It’s not pretty to get this stuff in your stew. So wipe it off and save yourself from having to use another pot, or wash this one.

Pour the 6 cups of broth (and perhaps the broth/water mixture) back into the Dutch oven. Stir in the onion, garlic, mixed vegetables, butter beans, okra, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, remove the chicken meat from the bones and set aside. Cut the beef and lamb into 1-inch pieces and set aside with the chicken, and if necessary refrigerating the meat until the vegetables have cooked for 1  hour. After 1 hour of cooking the vegetables,  stir the chicken and meat pieces into the cooked vegetables. Simmer until heated through. Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.…

Black-Eyed Peas and Greens Soup
Black-Eyed Peas and Greens Soup

It’s not unusual to find a pot of beans on the stove in many Southern homes this time of year. The best male cook I know grew up in a family that always made a pot of navy bean soup for the new year. A neighbor baked a fresh ham for Christmas this year and her mother took home the ham bone to make a pot of bean soup on New Year’s Day. The story goes that beans are considered a source of good luck and prosperity for the New Year. I’ll take some of that.

Black-eyed peas have an earthy flavor, and their cute little “black eye” makes them a favorite in our house. This recipe uses a smoked ham hock, but if time is short it’s no problem to substitute 1 cup of chopped ham or 1 cup chopped smoked turkey sausage for the ham hock, and reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes. Once I even prepared these beans without any ham or meat, and substituted vegetable broth for the chicken broth making quite a tasty, vegan good-luck meal. Always remember there are not many rules in cooking savory meals, especially soups. My recipes are intended to be a guide and provide inspiration, nothing more. Here’s to a year filled with good luck, prosperity, and beans!

 Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon thyme
1 smoked ham hock
One 16-ounce bag frozen black-eyed peas or 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
8 ounces fresh or frozen chopped turnip greens or kale (about 1  1/2 cups)
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or stock
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Creole seasoning, and thyme. Cook stirring for 1 minute. Add the ham hock, black-eyed peas, greens and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Turn heat to very low and remove ham hock from the peas. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the hock. Chop the ham and add back to the beans. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.…

Quick Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

Serves 8


Chock full of cold- and flu-fighting spices, this soup is perfect for a quick meal, anytime.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 ribs celery, thinly sliced

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (about 4 cups)

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper – optional

6 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth or stock

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups cooked chick peas (or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)



In a large Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 5 minutes. Stir in sweet potato, ginger, garlic, paprika, turmeric, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and if desired cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for about 1 minute to blend ingredients and start to soften the garlic. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and chick peas. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 30 minutes. Season more to taste with salt if desired.


Chestnut Soup

Serves 6

The earthy aroma of chestnuts are synonymous with fall. If fresh chestnuts are not available, and even if they are but you don’t want to fuss with peeling the fresh ones, vacuum-packed chestnuts work perfectly.

1 1/2 pounds fresh chestnuts or 14 ounces vacuum-packed, peeled chestnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 small rib celery, diced
1 leek, white and light green stem only, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
5 cups chicken broth or stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup half and half
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Pinch ground nutmeg

1. If using vacuum-packed chestnuts, skip to step #2. For fresh chestnuts: Preheat the oven to 400°F, or bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, slice an X on the flat side of each chestnut. Place them on a baking sheet and roast in the pre-heated oven, or boil them until the outer skin begins to curl, 10 to 12 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the outer and inner layers of skin from the chestnuts and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, leek, and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, and peeled chestnuts. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes until the chestnuts are soft and can be poked with the tip of a knife or with a fork.

3. Carefully ladle the soup into a blender, in batches if necessary and puree the soup. Add back to the saucepan and stir in the half and half, brandy, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve immediately. Can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat just before serving, being careful not to boil.…