The Kentucky Derby, the “Run for the Roses,” takes place on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. It is the first race in America’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing.
But the Derby experience is much more than the race; it consists of more than 70 events that go on for weeks, including a steamboat race, hot-air balloon race, and several evenings of giant fireworks displays. The week leading up to the race is filled with parties and a festive Ball. This is where women dress up all week and on race day wear huge and beautiful hats; it is definitely a time for people-watching. If you can’t be there, watch it on television; the race is only about two minutes long, but it is the preparation and stories of the horses as well as the parade up to the starting gate and the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” that makes the day so special to watch, definitely a part of American history.
What cannot go overlooked is Derby cuisine; “Hot Brown” sandwiches are probably the most famous, along with a classic mint julep. Right behind it is a heavenly chocolate-pecan pie. Most Kentuckians cannot imagine Derby Day without a thick meat and vegetable stew called burgoo that is served from massive iron pots along with Spoon Bread.
Below are the recipes for Spoon Bread, a specialty throughout the South, and beef tenderloin with a special sauce that became famous in a club in Louisville and is served in almost every restaurant.
Even if you are not going to the Kentucky Derby, you can enjoy these foods made famous there.
Hickory Grilled Beef with Henry Bain Sauce
Henry Bain Sauce
This zesty sauce, created in 1881 by Henry Bain, headwaiter of the Louisville Pendennis Club, is also great with grilled steak, pork, or chicken. Do a web search for “Pendennis Club Henry Bain sauce” to read more about this.
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Major Grey’s chutney (A thick, chunky, spicy condiment; look for it in the supermarket near the steak sauces. May substitute mango chutney)
1/3 cup bottled chili sauce (such as Heinz)
1/4 cup steak sauce (such as A-1)
1/4 cup low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Combine all, cover and refrigerate; (Does not need cooking or heating, serve at room temperature).
Soak 4 cups hickory wood chips in 2 cups water for 1 hour before grilling.
1, 3-pound beef tenderloin.
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Let beef stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place half of wood chips in smoker (consult grill manual for using wood chips).
Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill.
Sprinkle beef evenly with pepper and salt. Sear meat over direct high heat about 5 minutes on each side.
Transfer beef to indirect heat, and grill on medium heat, covered, turning once, until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 125 degrees F. for medium-rare, 20 to 30 minutes. (Grilling time will vary depending on thickness of tenderloin.)
Add additional wood chips halfway through cooking time.
Remove beef from grill. Cover lightly with foil; let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Slice beef across grain. Serve with room-temperature sauce.
There’s an amazingly simple and ingenious way to manage the heat of the grill. It’s called indirect grilling.
Using a charcoal grill, you push the hot coals to either side of the grill leaving the center to cook the meat on.
If using a gas grill with 2 burners, you heat one burner to hot and leave the other burner off, cooking the meat over the off burner. I have a 3-burner grill in which you leave the center burner off and heat the outside burners to medium. (Most grills come with directions for indirect grilling).
This soufflé-like corn bread is enjoyed all through the South and is a side dish on many a Kentucky Derby menu; restaurant or home. Enjoy it with most anything you grill this summer.
3/4 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
21/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 11-by-7 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine first four ingredients in a large saucepan; stir in milk and hot sauce.
Cook over medium heat until thick (about 15 minutes), stirring constantly.
Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Spoon 1/2 cup of hot cornmeal mixture into egg yolks. Stir entire egg yolk mixture into remaining cornmeal mixture. Add butter, stirring until it melts.
Place baking powder and egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-fourth of egg white mixture into cornmeal mixture. Gently spoon mixture into prepared baking dish; bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and puffy.
Patricia Altomare invites your letters; firstname.lastname@example.org.