Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kentucky Derby- Party Central

The Kentucky Derby race is considered by many the greatest two minutes in sports.  An invite to an upcoming Saturday party sent me on a hunt for some authentic recipes. A Kentucky Derby menu is steeped in tradition with a cuisine of southern flavors, bourbon and traditional mint juleps.

Cook's notes: The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.
Each year, almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack. That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.
This recipe serves 2 and very easy to put together.

  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup (see below)
  • 4 fresh mint sprigs
  • Shaved ice
  • 2/3 cup bourbon, divided among two glasses
  • Powdered sugar
  • Mint leaves
  • Pour 1 tablespoon Simple Syrup into 1 tall glass
  • Add 2 sprigs mint, crush slightly and add ice
  • Stir in 1/3 cup bourbon
  • Add more ice to fill glass and sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with mint. Repeat with remaining ingredients for second glass
Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Stir boiling water into sugar until sugar dissolves. Simple syrup will keep almost indefinitely refrigerated in covered container

Chef John's Deviled Shrimp Dip
Recipe adapted from

  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 8 oz package softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon or 2 TB fresh tarragon
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, drained and minced 
  • 1 LB. frozen shrimp thawed, peeled and deveined
  • Beat chili sauce into cream cheese and mayonnaise
  • Add in tarragon, onions,lemon juice, peppers, paprika and mix well
  • Fold in chopped shrimp
  • Cover and chill several hours to meld flavors
  • Garnish top of dip with a few shrimp,parsley sprigs or chopped green onions

Baby Hot Kentucky Browns
Cook's notes: Typically, this open-faced Kentucky classic is made with a heavy cheese sauce, but I found a recipe that delivers the same richness without all the saturated fat.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living
  • 24 pumpernickel party rye bread slices
  • 1- 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey or deli turkey
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked, crumbled, and divided
  • 5 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced 
Parmesan Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

  • Arrange bread slices on a lightly greased baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from heat for 1 minute per side
  • To prepare the sauce, combine the olive oil, butter, and minced garlic in a medium sized pan over medium to low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour until a thick mixture has been created
  • Slowly add in the chicken broth and then milk
  • Increase the heat and allow the mixture to get to a boiling point, reduce and allow to simmer until thickened stirring occasionally
  • Add in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste 
  • Stir in diced turkey
  • Top bread evenly with warm cheese-turkey mixture. Sprinkle evenly with a few extra tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and half of bacon
  • Bake at 500° for 2 minutes or until Parmesan is melted
  • Top with tomato slices, and sprinkle evenly with remaining bacon
To make ahead: Prepare the cheese-turkey mixture, cook the bacon, and grate the Parmesan the day before the party.
To reheat cheese mixture, place pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and warm. 
Assemble and proceed as directed

Check back tomorrow for several tried and true southern dessert recipes made with pecans , chocolate and bourbon.

The Derby is frequently referred to as "The Run for the Roses," because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition is as a result of New York socialite E. Berry Wall presenting roses to ladies at a post-Derby party in 1883 that was attended by Churchill Downs founder and president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. This gesture is believed to have eventually led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race's official flower. However, it was not until 1896 that any recorded account referred to roses being draped on the Derby winner. The Governor of Kentucky awards the garland and the trophy.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Thanks for reaching out to me on Facebook (Franticmommy). I LOVE how you've taken a recipes and shared the history behind it. Off to read some more!-Becky