Kentucky Burgoo For A Crowd

“Burgoo is literally a soup composed of many vegetables and meats delectably fused together in an enormous cauldron, over which, at the exact moment, a rabbit’s foot at the end of a yarn string is properly waved by a colored preacher, whose salary has been paid to date. These are the good omens by which the burgoo is fortified.”
~ William Carey 1761-1834, “Carey’s Dictionary of Double Derivations”

(Makes 1200 Gallons)

  • 600 pounds lean soup meat (no fat, no bones)
  • 200 pounds fat hens
  • 2000 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 200 pounds onions
  • 5 bushels of cabbage, chopped
  • 60 10-pound cans of tomatoes
  • 24 10-pound cans puree of tomatoes
  • 24 10-pound cans of carrots
  • 18 10-pound cans of corn
  • Red pepper and salt to taste
  • Season with Worcestershire, Tabasco, or A-1 Sauce

Mix the ingredients, a little at a time, and cook outdoors in huge iron kettles over wood fires for 15 to 20 hours.

* Use squirrels in season. 1 dozen squirrels to each 100 gallons

Culinary Fun Fact: Emulsifiers – Vinaigrette

Oil and vinegar do not mix. The only way to combine them is to whisk them together so strenuously that the vinegar breaks down into tiny droplets. The two fluids are then effectively one homogeneous mixture, called an emulsion.

To enable an emulsion to stay stable, add an ingredient that acts as an emulsifier, in this case mustard. Emulsifiers form a barrier around the droplets in an emulsion, keeping them from recombining and separating out. The mustard might not be enough to affect the flavor of the dressing, but it can have a serious impact on the chemistry of the mixture.

Sweet Potato Cornbread

2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
5 large eggs
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 11/2 lb. sweet potatoes)
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Stir together first 3 ingredients; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together eggs and remaining ingredients. Add to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9-inch square pan or cast iron skillet.
  • Bake at 425° for 35 minutes (a little less for a cast iron skillet) or until golden brown.

Culinary Fun Fact: True or False You should never wash fresh mushrooms?

You’ve probably heard that you should never, ever wash fresh mushrooms under running water. The thinking goes that they will soak up the water, making them soft and slimy in the final dish. But is that really true?

After tests of using a damp cloth to brush off the mushrooms and a quick rinse in a colander under running water, there is no difference in the texture of the finished dish.

One rule of thumb – Wash mushrooms right before cooking; if you let rinsed mushrooms sit around for longer than 10 or 15 minutes, the texture will indeed begin to suffer.

Irish Boxty

Boxty is basically potato pancakes. It is a traditional Irish potato dish which is quite easy to make. The name comes from the Gaelic “Bacstai”. An old Irish poem says:

Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan,
If you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man.

Boxty is an excellent way to use left-over mashed potatoes. Basically it consists of equal parts of raw potato, mashed potato and flour:

1 cup grated raw potato
1 cup mashed potato
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve with a tart apple sauce.

If you’re feeling very Irish, serve with fried bacon, fried sausage, fried eggs, fried black pudding, fried bread, and fried soda bread.

Culinary Fun Fact: Truth or False Salt is optional in most recipes—you can just leave it out.

Even the small amount of salt included in most baking recipes makes an enormous difference. Salt-free cakes are overly sweet but also bland, they called it mild, flat, or dull, you can barely detect any vanilla flavor. Cakes that include salt are also sweet, but the flavors of butter and vanilla were much more balanced and pronounced.

Salt doesn’t just enhance flavors in foods; it also helps mask less agreeable tastes like bitterness. By suppressing bitterness, salt allows more desirable flavors—including sweetness and spices—to come through.

In bread baking, salt controls the activity of yeast, strengthens gluten, and accents the bread’s flavor; it should never be omitted. Adding even a small amount of salt to an egg dish keeps the proteins in the eggs from bonding to each other, thereby producing a weaker protein chain and more tender eggs.

Salt helps improve the texture and flavor of nearly every kind of meat. When salt is applied to raw meat, juices inside the meat are drawn to the surface. The salt then dissolves in the exuded liquid, forming a brine that is eventually reabsorbed by the meat. This brine acts to change the structure of the muscle proteins, helping them hold on to more of their own natural juices.

Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant can also benefit from being salted to draw out their moisture before they’re used in a recipe.