Kentucky Burgoo

Recipe for Kentucky Burgoo

Recipe: Kentucky Burgoo

Summary: Burgoo is a culinary as well as social event in Kentucky


  • 2 lbs. beef round or shank, flank steak, or skirt steak, cut into a 1-inch dice
  • 1 lb lamb shank, shoulder, or flank, cut into 1-inch dice
  • One 41/2-5 lb. chicken, quartered and skinned
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 lb. slab bacon or 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 6 serrano, Thai, or other dried chiles, stems trimmed, slit down their sides, seeded, and flattened
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Merlot, Cabernet, or Syrah
  • 6 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 lb. dried great northern beans, small lima beans, or butterbeans
  • 1 3/4 lbs. Yukon Gold or other waxy potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes) peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 4 medium onions)
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 3 ears)
  • 10 oz. fresh okra, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (2 cups), or one 10-ounce package defrosted frozen sliced okra
  • 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (about 3 large tomatoes)
  • 2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes and juice
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and crushed


  1. Season the beef, lamb, and chicken all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Scatter the diced bacon in an 8-quart stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. With a slotted spoon, move the pieces around until the bacon is firm and just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl with the slotted spoon. Pour off and reserve all but two tablespoons of the fat from the pot and return it to the burner. Add the chiles and gently toast until they release some of their fragrance, about 30 seconds on each side. With tongs, remove and reserve in the bowl with the bacon.
  2. Add the beef to the pot in batches, taking care not to crowd the pan, and sear, turning the pieces with tongs as each side becomes golden brown (about 2 1/2 minutes per side), until all the beef has browned. Add reserved bacon fat (or extra-virgin olive oil, peanut oil, or canola oil, if you prefer) by teaspoons if the bottom of the pot becomes dry. Transfer the beef to the bowl with the bacon and chiles. Using the same technique, brown the lamb and then the chicken, transferring both to the same large bowl when they are browned.
  3. Add the wine to the pot. With a wooden spoon, stir in tight circles, scraping up the flavorful browned bits from the bottom. Bring the wine to a boil and boil until it has reduced by one quarter, about 6 minutes. Add the broth, water, beans, and reserved beef, lamb, chicken, bacon, and chiles to the pot and cover. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer vigorously for 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are just tender and the stew base is a meaty, concentrated stock.
  4. Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, okra, bell peppers, tomatoes, and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Return to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, uncover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally to meld the flavors, for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Turn off the heat, Stir in the parsley, lemon, and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in deep bowls.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

Recipe adapted from

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