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Southern stew recipe: Kentucky Burgoo

Burgoo is Kentucky’s most famous stew, usually made for big gatherings, like Derby Day, in huge kettles. It dates back to before the Civil War and, as legend has it, was invented by a French chef. It’s a bit of an ‘empty-the-fridge recipe’ and typically has at least three different meats, and plenty of vegetables. It’s simple, easy, freezes well and can be made from any meat available. As with most stews, burgoo is even better the second day. Don’t be put off by the lengthy list of ingredients – good things come to those who wait!”

-Dr Leo Hamilton, American Senior Doctor at IMC Paediatric

Feeds a hungry party of eight

Kentucky Bugoo


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 450g (1 pound) cubed pork shoulder roast
  • 450g (1 pound) cubed beef stew meat
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 700g (1½ pounds) bone-in chicken parts
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup smoky barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup corn
  • ¾ cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup okra, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 400g (15oz) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in an 8-litre (8-quart) pot over medium heat; brown pork and beef cubes in the hot oil, working in batches if necessary.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, chicken pieces, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer stew for one hour.
  3. Stir in stewed tomatoes, barbecue sauce, green beans, okra, corn, onion, green bell pepper, celery, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, and hot pepper sauce.
  4. Bring stew back to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer one more hour.
  5. Discard bay leaves before serving stew in bowls.
  6. Serve with crusty bread and/or cornbread and “enjoy Southern hospitality!”


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This article first appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.