These Dishes Are Kentucky Trademarks, Like ‘Em or Not
I've had sauerkraut balls in Ohio, burritos with hatch chiles in New Mexico, and pecan EVERYTHING in Georgia. When I'm on the road, I like to eat what the locals enjoy...for better or worse. And it's always been "better."
Every state has specialty dishes. Wisconsin for its cheese curds and Louisiana for its gumbo each get a big thumbs up. Colorado for its Rocky Mountain oysters (heaven forbid) and Arkansas for its chocolate gravy (sorry, not sorry) get a big thumbs down.
And, of course, each of those states I've mentioned--plus the other 43--have other foods or recipes they proudly tout. It's the same way in Kentucky. We have amazing specialties here in the Commonwealth, but we also have those that I would bypass at the buffet.
Kentucky Delicacies -- Burgoo
As much as I love this amazing soup/stew, that's how much more than just a few people HATE burgoo. But that stems from their distaste for mutton, which is one of the meats in the recipe. It almost never fails. Most folks who are not from western Kentucky or--more specifically--Daviess County tend to turn their nose up at mutton, the meat we get from sheep and, yes, sometimes goats. I've even heard some say it tastes like rotten beef, which I do not understand. Now here's the thing with burgoo, and it's evident in the following two demonstrations. You'll probably catch it, based on what I've already shared.
Neither of those chefs used mutton. And when you search burgoo recipes, you might not find that ingredient in most of them. For me, TRADITIONAL burgoo does include mutton, but I have learned over the years why a lot of people avoid it in cooking...the COST. It's just expensive enough that you can't just have it all the time for cookouts. I mean, there's a reason why you never see it in stores. Hey, those two above versions of burgoo look amazing, and I would enjoy them. But it really is so much better with mutton.
Kentucky Delicacies -- Benedictine
This one throws me for a loop, but you can't find a list of specialty Kentucky recipes without running into Benedictine. It's really not bad at all, but it just doesn't seem like one of OUR delicacies. I mean, it's a spread made with cream cheese and cucumbers. It's something I might have made up without even realizing it was an actual thing.
Other recipes just use mayonnaise, which I don't think sounds as good. Also, Benedictine is reminiscent of tzatziki, an amazing condiment made with cucumbers, Greek yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice.
Kentucky Delicacies -- Spoonbread
I've only had spoonbread a couple of times, but it isn't that difficult to create, so I guess I should get busy and make my own. This amazing dish--sort of a bread pudding/cornbread mashup--is not really a dessert, even though it IS sweet. But because it's sweetened by the heavy presence of creamed corn, it's considered a side dish. And I'll take all you have to give.
And I'd have to say that the annual Spoonbread Festival in Berea WOULD offer as much spoonbread as I could handle.
But you don't have to wait for a festival to enjoy spoonbread; it's the specialty of the house at Berea's Boone Tavern.
Kentucky Delicacies -- Salmon Patties
I grew up believing these were uniquely Kentucky, and I've never seen them on menus or eaten them outside of our borders. But, I also haven't found anything that specifies the Commonwealth when the discussion of salmon patties arises. So I'll take a little creative license and dub this extraordinary entree a Kentucky delicacy. Seriously, I bet my family ate more salmon patties--and sometimes just tuna patties, which are equally delicious--than anything else when I was a kid. And it always surprises me when people grimace at the thought of eating them. What do they know? We were fortunate Mom grew up eating them because so did we.
I don't know about you, but I think I've planned an entire meal here. Consequently, all the talk about these Kentucky delicacies has made me hungry.
Yes, there are obvious selections like the Kentucky Hot Brown and Derby Pie that are not on this list. But those are fairly high-profile. The ones here? Maybe not so much. But they are equally phenomenal.
Bone appetite...as we might say here in Kentucky.