Kentucky burgoo

Kentucky burgoo

The Hang Fire Cookbook

‘If gumbo is the national stew of Cajun country, burgoo is the stew of Kentucky,’ Ronni Lundy tells us in her book Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken. We ate a fairly questionable bowl of ‘local Burgoo’ in a desolate cafe just outside Louisville, KY. In true Burgoo style, the meats were a little indistinguishable. But what can you expect from a stew made from ingredients singer Robert Myles describes as ‘almost anything that ever walked or flew’? There is talk of it being a derivative of a French ragout, which sounds kinda similar when you say it. We’ve tried to stay true to the ‘wild meat’ element and urge you to give it a go!


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra if needed
1-2 rabbits, cut into large pieces, (bone in)
venison, cut into 8cm chunks
3-5 pheasant legs or thighs, bone-in
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 litre chicken stock
1 litre beef stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 large potatoes, cut into small, 1cm cubes
60ml worcestershire sauce, or to taste
450g frozen corn kernels
450g frozen butterbeans, or tinned black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
Cheddar jalapeño cornbread, to serve
tabasco or other hot sauce, to serve
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and place over medium-high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown all of the meat, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove to a plate as and when each batch is well browned.
  2. Put the onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper in the pan and turn the heat to high. Cook the vegetables for 7 minutes, until they are well browned – you might need to add a little more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Return the browned meat, along with the chicken and beef stocks and the tomatoes. Stir, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil over high heat, cover, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours.
  3. After this time, the pheasant and rabbit should be meltingly tender. Fish them out of the pan and use two forks to strip the meat off the bone, and back into the pan. Discard the bones. Remove the venison pieces from the pan and tear into bite-sized pieces. Return to the pan and bring the stew back up to the boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the potatoes to the stew, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until tender. Add the Worcestershire sauce, mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste. Finally, stir in the corn and beans or peas. Cook for a further 20 minutes. Serve with cornbread and a bottle of hot sauce on the side.
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