If you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby this year, don’t be discouraged. Instead, throw your own celebration at home with a viewing party. Gather your family and friends for a day of fun filled with classic Kentucky dishes. Food Network has your menu covered with recipes for Kentucky Burgoo, Derby Pie, Mint Juleps (pictured above) and more. And just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up for the races — ladies, put on your hats, and gentleman, don’t forget your jackets!
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Since Derby Day traditionally happens in the beginning of May, I always associate it with the beginning of summer. Is it because the horse race is affectionately referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports?” No, it’s because I love so many of the traditions that come with it. I love that the winner is presented with a “blanket” of 554 roses. I love fiddling with a version of “burgoo,” a beef and pork stew traditionally served on this day. Burgoo is one of those recipes that can be left open to interpretation. It is traditionally made with whatever meats (beef or pork) and vegetables (lima beans, corn or okra) are available. My best results came from braising some cubed-up brisket and stirring in some corn, fava beans and peas to give it that touch of spring. With all this cooking, a cooling drink seems only fitting. The mint julep happens to be one of my favorites. It reminds me of a snow cone, the fruity, icy cone I used to get from ice cream trucks as a kid. This provides a fun drink for kids instead of a more traditional Shirley Temple.
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