Growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky meant a steady diet of lots of creatures of the woods: Rabbit, Deer, Quail, Grouse maybe the occasional Groundhog...all fair game and often, depending on the preparation, delicious.
One of the hallmarks of Kentucky cooking is Burgoo, a rich hunter's stew chock full of game and whatever vegetables happen to be on hand at the time of the cookdown.
I only make Burgoo once a year. What our Kentucky forbears intended as a huntsman's dish to accommodate the plenitude of game roaming the meadows and forests has, for me, a city dweller, devolved into a once a year dish involving driving all over town to procure a rough simulacrum of what a skilled hunter might accumulate in his game bag in a couple sessions in the woods.
First things first: Let's make a roux so we can thicken the burgoo when it's cooked.
1 c. Bacon Fat
2 c. Flour, white, all purpose
* Heat bacon fat in cast iron pan
* Add flour
* Stand at stove stirring fat/flour mixture on medium heat for about 45 minutes til the roux is a deep walnut brown
Ingredients for Burgoo:
8 quarts good, homemade stock, pork or chicken will work fine but if you can produce a venison stock you will be on your way to Burgoo greatness
1 lb Alligator Sausage, smoked [Far from traditional but I live in Texas where gators are plentiful and delicious]
1 lb Pork Brisket, roasted
2 lbs Frog Legs, roasted
1 lb Goat, roasted
2 lbs Chicken Legs, roasted
2 lbs Deer, roasted
1 each Rabbit, roasted
5 lbs Poblano Chiles, chopped
1 each Celery, bunch, chopped
2 each Green Onions, bunches, minced, giant ones are best
2 each Garlic, bulbs, minced
24 oz Canned Whole Tomatoes
1 each Cabbage, thinly sliced
14 oz Hominy, dry, white or yellow
5 each, Bay Leaves
* Roast or smoke all your meats til nicely cooked
* Heat 12 quart cookpot with 3 T. peanut oil til smoking
* Add Poblanos and celery-cook for 15 minutes
* Add Garlic-cook for 15 minutes
* Add Stock and bring to boil
* Add bay leaves
* Add hominy-cook for 1 hour at boil
* Add all meats, deboned-cook for 1 hour at simmer
* Add Tomatoes-cook for 30 minutes
* Add reserved roux-cook for 30 minutes being sure to stir frequently and all the way to the bottom of the kettle as the roux has a tendency to settle on the bottom of the kettle and can burn
* Adjust your Burgoo's flavor with salt and pepper
Voila! You just made Burgoo, one of the great regional dishes of the American South. Like gumbo there are a million variations on ingredients and methods but the above will serve as a good template should you decide to tackle one of the classic dishes of the great state of Kentucky.