The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby is less than 2 weeks away. We’re already planning the menu for our annual Derby party. So, we’ve pulled out the cookbooks, Garden & Gun and Southern Living Magazines, looked online, and called friends who live in Kentucky. Only a few days left to get cooking for those guests!
Lynn has a large selection of cookbooks from Kentucky she always pulls out weeks before the Derby. She likes to add a little something new to the party each year. We have tried and true dishes and recipes everyone loves, but she enjoys cooking and likes to add something new each time.
You can tell by the picture she has about worn the cover off of Bluegrass Winners, a cookbook by the Garden Club of Lexington. She has had it forever, and it holds some great pictures as well as complete menus and recipes for any occasion. Another favorite is The Kentucky Derby Museum Cook Book. It has an introduction with ideas to help plan your party and a ton of recipes and food suggestions. Another fun cookbook is Cordon Blue Grass, Blue Ribbon Recipes from Kentucky, published by the Junior League of Louisville. The Southerners Cookbook from the Editors Garden & Gun is chocked full of great southern food, recipes, and delicious pictures. Lastly, How to Throw a Great Derby Party by Sue Wylie is a fun little book with everything you need to know to throw a Derby Party.
As far as drinks go, Mint Juleps are a MUST for the bar. You can check out my Mint Julep recipe here.
Lynn has made Burgoo for years. Every region of the country has their own native stew or soup. Kentucky has “Burgoo.” No one can agree on the how, what, when, or why of Burgoo. There are many stories about its origin and the derivation of its name. After the Civil War, Buffalo Trace hired Gustave Jaubert, the father of burgoo, to cook for its employees. When you tour the distillery you can see his burgoo kettles in the distillery’s Burgoo House.
In addition to Burgoo, ham is another staple at our party served with small rolls to make sandwiches. The last few years we have alternated between ham sandwiches and pulled pork. Either way you are getting the business end of the pig and a real southern treat. That pretty much covers the main dish, now what do you serve with that burgoo and pork?
We have many guests who ask to bring something so we suggest a salad. Salads are easy and travel well. You can make it as simple as coleslaw or as elaborate a salad as time allows.
Keeping that southern theme, other good additions are pimento cheese, cheese straws and spiced nuts. We also love to have Virginia peanuts around. They are crunchy, and very different for our southern California guests. Plus, Kentucky was part of Virginia at one point in time! All are very good, very southern, and easy to serve.
I know what you are thinking, what’s for dessert? Well, you will have to keep an eye on the blog to find out. Make sure to order your Derby glasses, napkins and supplies from Becky Biesel at Party Kits & Equestrian Gifts in Louisville – the store has been around forever and you can now order online.
What do you have planned for your Derby party menu?