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Kentucky burgoo.

Burgoo is a term used for many types of stew or porridge made from a mixture of ingredients.

North American Usage

Burgoo is a spicy stew that has its roots in the Irish or mulligan stew. Traditionally, the idea was to make a stew using whatever meats and vegetables were available and in good supply. That meant venison, squirrel, opossum (though not in modern recipes) or game birds; essentially whatever the hunt brought back. The local Kentucky barbecue restaurants use specific meats—usually pork, chicken or mutton—in their recipes which creates (along with spice choices) a distinct flavor unique to each restaurant. Cornbread or corn muffins are served on the side.

Kentucky burgoo recipes are somewhat like chili recipes, in that there are many different recipes each calling for different sets of ingredients. Currently burgoo serves mainly as a tool for social gathering among Kentuckians and their friends. Typically each person brings one or more ingredients and all the ingredients will be cooked in a big pot. Locally in Kentucky and surrounding areas such Indiana, burgoo is often used for fund-raising in schools. This form of Burgoo has been claimed to have been invented by the family of former Major League Baseball player, Ollie Beard. In Brighton, Illinoismarker, a local traditional Burgoo is prepared and served annually at the village's summer festival, the Betsy Ann Picnic.

No standardized recipe exists, but it is a combination of at least three things. Today, the meat is usually pork or mutton, often hickory-smoked, but not limited to these more popular meats. A combination of beef, pork, chicken and mutton are frequently used, both hickory-smoked and non-smoked. Historically, however, it could have been any game animal during lean times, like during the Civil War. Today, for example, the Hilltop Inn of Evansville, Indianamarker (as featured on Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt television series) serves a variety made with squirrel meat. Vegetables such as lima beans, corn, okra and potatoes have always been popular. A thickening agent of cornmeal, ground beans, whole wheat or potato starch is all that most cookbook recipes use today, but it is traditional to add soup bone for taste and thickening.

The ingredients are combined in order of cooking time required, with meat usually going in first, vegetables second, and if necessary, thickening agents last. A good burgoo is said to be able to have a spoon stand up in it. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and other savory spices can be added much like in Cincinnati chili. Some varieties use cider vinegar, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce or dry chili powder. These condiments are often made available for people to spice up their own bowl as well.

In Kentucky, the home of Daniel Boone, the traditional roadkill stew known as Burgoo, a stew-like soup of squirrel, rabbit or possum and vegetables, is declining in popularity, perhaps due to health warnings. However, it is still widely served in Owensboromarker, the burgoo capital of the world There are many different recipes for burgoo, with considerable disagreement over ingredients and method of preparation.

Royal Navy Usage

In the British Royal Navy, Burgoo refers to a thick oatmeal gruel or porridge. According to one source , this was a mixture of oatmeal and molasses eaten for breakfast. Being cheap and easy to provision, it was said to be served excessively on some ships and was reputed to be unloved by seamen.

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