So just what is burgoo?…. I hadn’t heard of it until I was in the south. It's basically a stew… although many will dispute that… saying it's a soup. It is a Kentucky favorite… and part of the regional list of foods on many Kentucky Derby menus…. Owensboro, Kentucky claims to be the Burgoo Capital of the world…. but many may dispute that too among other things…..
There aren’t many things people agree on when it comes to burgoo… most will agree that it contains meat, vegetables and a thickener… but even the thickener is up for discussion… as for the exact meats and vegetables… well… let’s just say don’t bring the subject up as dinner conversation… you will likely hear many versions of what should be in burgoo…. even cooking methods vary… so it’s basically a recipe free-for-all…. oh and us Yankees… we call it stew.
I did extensive research on burgoo recipes… and took a consensus of the ingredients used… as well as the method… and came up with a recipe… only to be told by Warren… they call it Brunswick Stew here in Brunswick, Georgia…. and actually there is a terrific little restaurant called the Blackwater Grill in nearby St. Simons Island that makes a killer Brunswick stew and… after tasting the burgoo… it was exactly the same as the Brunswick stew I had at Blackwater... Warren was right (just don't tell him..).
Burgoo is often served over grits… plain or Garlic Cheese Grits… and sometimes over mashed potatoes… seems they can’t even agree on that…
The only deviation I made from recipes I found… was I added a bit of tomato paste to thicken the soup-stew… we prefer it stew-like…
This recipe turned out terrific… what I found interesting… is that almost all the recipes I found… and I found many, many recipes… used little or no spice except for salt and pepper and maybe a little garlic powder… instead depending on the flavors of the meats and vegetables to dominant the dish… well all except Emerill… but that wasn’t a surprise.
It was very easy to make and really really good.
I used a combination of pork stew meat and beef stew meat… and a thick boneless chicken breast cut into chunks… a lot of recipes used whole chickens … cooking the chicken then removing the meat and cutting up the cooked chicken…. I did it my way to lessen the fat and the work… I didn’t come up with the method… I find it in several recipes and liked the idea.
Keep the heat low during the cooking… a very slow simmer… and stir it periodically… even so mine stuck on the bottom a bit… so check it often.. you don’t want burned bits in your burgoo. After the initial cooking… this would be ideal to put into a crock pot and allow the crock pot to finish the cooking… which is what I will do next time to lessen the work even more.
I used about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.. I will list it as 1-2 tablespoons … depending on how thick you like your burgoo.
Most recipes that used beans ..used lima beans or butter beans… we are not fans of lima beans… we used butter beans … we find they stand out less than lima beans in dishes.
This recipe serves 6.
I highly recommend you make the Baked Garlic Cheese Grits … it really adds to the dish. I think one thing everyone trying burgoo will agree on… it’s wonderful!
All you need:
About ½ lb. beef stew meat
About ½ lb. pork stew meat
About ½ lb. thick boneless skinless chicken breast
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion cut in half then sliced
2 large garlic cloves finely diced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 cup diced carrots
1 large green pepper, diced
1 ½ cups frozen butter beans
2 cups frozen corn
1 15 oz. can Hunts petite cut diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (see tips in post)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (large dice)
Salt and pepper to taste
About 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Baked Garlic Cheese Grits
All you need to do:
In a large Zip Loc bag, combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix well.
Dredge the cubed meats in the seasoned flour (you will need to do this in batches.
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Quickly sear the dredged meats in the hot oil. Stir to sear all sides of the cubes.
Remove the meat from the pot to a plate and set aside while cooking the onions and garlic.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and heat… add the onions and stir often until onions are almost translucent.
Add the finely diced garlic over the onions and cook for another minute or until onions are completely soft.
Add the beef and chicken stock… stir well ….scraping off the bits of flour off the bottom of the pot.
Return the meat to the pot.
Add all ingredients EXCEPT the potatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then lower heat and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 1 hour over low heat. Stir frequently.
NOTE: If the burgoo becomes too thick.. simply add more stock… if it’s too thin add a little more tomato paste.
Add the potatoes and simmer for another hour. Continue to stir frequently.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over Baked Garlic Cheese Grits and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
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