Kentucky’s Irish Heritage: Burgoo

As we continue to celebrate Irish Heritage Month, take a look at this savory piece of Kentucky’s Irish heritage:

Burgoo is a hearty stew that was traditionally made with whatever meats were available, including squirrel, venison, possum, and raccoon. Luckily these days burgoo recipes stick with pork, chicken, and venison, along with a yummy combination of vegetables. Burgoo comes from the tradition of Irish stew brought by Irish immigrants to Kentucky and its surrounding states.

Check out UPK’s book The Kentucky Barbecue Book by Wes Berry for more info about burgoo and Kentucky’s rich culinary tradition, or stop by Keeneland to try some of their famous burgoo for yourself!

Here’s a great recipe for bourbon burgoo from Epicurious:

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork shank
  • 2 pounds veal shank
  • 2 pounds beef shank
  • 2 pounds breast of lamb
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken
  • 8 quarts cold water
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds onions
  • 1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 quart tomato puree
  • 2 cups whole corn, fresh or canned
  • 2 pods red pepper
  • 2 cups diced okra
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups dry lima beans
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tabasco
  • Steak Sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Preparation

1. Put the pork, veal, beef, lamb, and chicken into 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 4—6 hours.

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 puree, corn, red pepper, okra, parsley, lima beans, celery, and bourbon, to the meat and stock. Allow the stew to simmer until very thick about 6 hours.

4. Season to taste with the salt, pepper, Tabasco, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.

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