There are as many recipes online and in cookbooks for Kentucky Burgoo as there are gumbo recipes in Louisiana or Brunswick Stew recipes in Georgia. This one is based on a recipe from Simply Recipes. I choose, pork, chicken and lamb for the proteins and added a red bell pepper to my version.
I made this the day before the Kentucky Derby and let the flavors blend in the fridge overnight. It warmed up beautifully and was absolutely delicious. This lovely bowl of goodness won rave reviews from all party attendees!
This recipe makes a LOT. Either half or have wonderful leftovers for lunches. It also freezes beautifully.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 pounds pork country styled ribs, cut into large pieces (3 to 4 inches wide)
2-3 pounds lam shanks (3 to 4 inches wide)
3-5 chicken legs or thighs (bone-in)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart beef stock
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 large potatoes (we used russets)
1 bag of frozen corn (about a pound)
1 bag of frozen lima beans (about 14 ounces)
Salt and pepper
4-8 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco or other hot sauce on the side
Heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a large soup pot (at least 8 quart size). I used my LARGEST Le Creuset 9 1/2 quart pot. Salt the meats well on all sides. When the oil is shimmering hot, working in batches brown all the meats. Do not crowd the pan! Remember we talk about this all the time. If it's crowded together, it won't brown well at all. Those nice beautiful bits of browned goodness on the bottom of the pot are where the flavors are! Try to get a lovely sear on the meat.
First the pork ribs.....
First the pork ribs.....
Now the lamb shanks......
And last but not least, the chicken thighs......
Remove the browned meats to a large plate.
Add the onions, carrots, celery and green and red pepper to the pot and saute' those until they're nice and soft. If you need to, add a little more oil. After a few minutes of cooking, sprinkle salt over the vegetables. This will help bring out the moisture in the vegetables. When the vegetables are well browned, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Watch carefully, really browned garlic is bitter!
Add the chicken and beef broths and stir to combine.
Add the tomatoes and stir.......
Add the meats back to the pot, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours. At this point, if the windows are open at your house, neighbors will be knocking at the door asking for a dinner invitation.
Uncover and remove the meat from the pot. Let the meat cool for a bit and then take the chicken off the bone and discard the skin. Tear the larger pieces of meat into smaller pieces. By cooking the meat on the bone, you a much richer flavor to the burgoo. Add all the meat back to the pot and bring it up to a strong simmer.
Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks about 1/2 inch square. Add them to the pot. They'll take about 15 minutes to become fork tender. At this point, add the Worcestershire sauce and let simmer for a few minutes. At this point you'll need to taste and check to see if you need to add a little salt. I started out with the 4 T. of Worcestershire and then added the other 4 T. as well. It gives an amazing depth of flavor.
Now you'll add the corn and lima beans. Mix well and cook for at least 10 minutes. If you want the bright colors of the veggies to pop, you're ready to go at this point. If you want a really thick mishmash of veggies and meat and potatoes, cook as long as you want on very low heat..
I decided to stop at this point and let it cool slightly and refrigerated overnight. Serve with crusty bread or cornbread and a bottle of hot sauce on the side. And although the original recipe suggested the hot sauce, for once in my life, I didn't add any to my serving. It was perfect as is.