Southern Dishes for the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby offers more than horse racing, fabulous hats, and sports betting. It is a day to gather with loved ones over mouth-watering food and drinks. Enjoy these Derby favorites.

The Kentucky Derby, AKA, the “greatest two minutes in sports” is more than a horse race. It is one of the oldest sports in the U.S. and holds more traditions than we can count. It’s a weekend of huge hats, fancy cocktails, backyard games, and of course mouth-watering Southern food. These delicious trademarks are easy to make and great for a crowd. Let’s explore Derby cuisine!

Bourgoo is a traditional dish scrounged from whatever people could find and throw in a pot. Chicken, pork, possum, squirrel, or vegetables can be used for a burgoo base. Originally, this was a potluck meal where friends and family would bring whatever they could find. Over the centuries, burgoo climbed to the top of regional specialties and is now a tasty and creative Derby dish! Feel free to dip cornbread- or baguettes to soak up savory broth. The endless creativity makes burgoo the perfect dish for picky eaters, large groups, and left over ingredients. 

Mint Juleps are the taste of the Derby itself. It tastes like sunshine, friendly competition, and the promise of good times. The simple mint julep recipe requires only three ingredients: mint, simple syrup, and bourbon. Fortunately these classics aren’t reserved just for Derby days!

Mix cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, a sauce of your choice, and behold your very own pimiento cheese! Add flair by stirring in something spicy, savory, or even sweet depending on your preferences. Pimento cheese can be thrown into pastas, spread on sandwiches, topped on burgers, or stand alone as a delicious dip. Keep this easy appetizer in your back pocket for gatherings!

Hot Browns were invented in the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky for Derby guests as a midnight snack. To make a hot brown layer a thick piece of bread with turkey, ham, tomatoes, piping hot Mornay sauce, and bacon. Broil until the bread is browned, and you have a savory Derby inspired dish. 

Benedictine is another dish straight from the heart of Louisville, Kentucky. It is a combination of cucumber, mayonnaise, and onion in its simplest form. But it can be spiced up with cayenne pepper, dill, sour cream, hot sauce, and whatever else you decide to mix in! Benedictine is usually served on bread for cucumber sandwiches or on a platter as a dip. Next time you buy cucumbers consider making this easy dish!

Derby food is wonderfully versatile. You can alter the recipes a hundred times over and still get an incredible meal! What is your favorite Kentucky Derby dish? Submit it to the Cookbook, and show us all how to make it!

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