Kentucky Burgoo

Recipe by Nancy Johnson Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

This hearty stew, often served on Derby Day, has a sweet-sour vibe, reminiscent of German dishes like sauerbraten. And although this recipe doesn’t include cabbage, you can certainly add it, as well as okra and other vegetables. There are as many versions of burgoo as there are cooks in Kentucky but one thing is certain – it should contain three different types of meat. Authentic burgoo is simmered for many hours; this version uses tender cuts of meat and has a shorter cooking time. If you’re traveling in the state, stop for a bowl of burgoo in Owensboro, the Burgoo Capital of the World.

2 TBS olive oil, divided

1 lb sirloin steak, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces

4 cups beef stock

1 large onion, chopped

1 large sweet red bell pepper, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic

4 baking potatoes

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

Salt and pepper, to taste

1-1/2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, undrained

2 TBS brown sugar

3 TBS cider vinegar

2 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Sauté meat in batches until browned, adding more olive oil as needed. Add 1cup beef stock; deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits. Add remaining beef stock, onion, red pepper, carrots and garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes. Add 1cup water, potatoes, lima beans, corn, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, tomatoes, brown sugar, cider vinegar, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes more, or until potatoes are tender. Serves 6.

Gary: Even with the pork and chicken this is a rich dish with beef, red meat flavors and tomatoes. A flavorful red with suppleness would be a great pairing since a stew is simmered for a long time and will taste even better reheated the next day. The lightly sweet and sour overtones will not strongly impact the overall ability to pair with a dry red. A plush Pinot Noir, Rioja Crianza or Reserva and ripe Chianti with their weight and acidity would be fine choices, as would Merlot, a Southern Rhône Blend, Malbec, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon or a red blend with the requisite qualities.

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