The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race held in, you guessed it, Kentucky.  Typically, the race is scheduled on the first Saturday in May but thanks to COVID and the current pandemic status, it was rescheduled for September 5, 2020.  I’ve never been to the Derby and would love to go someday but until that happens, I’m content staying home and watching it on TV.

Like most other holidays or celebrations, there will be themed food.  Did you expect anything else?  🙂

Our appetizer will be Pimento Cheese Spread with sliced baguette.  Pimento Cheese Spread is essentially the caviar of the South.  It’s very cheesy and tangy, and there is nothing quite like it.  It’s a great comfort food…and super easy to make!

The recipe can be found here.

Start by softening the cream cheese.  You can do this by letting the cream cheese sit on the counter for a few hours before preparing the dish.  Then cut the cream cheese into cubes.  This makes it slightly easier to work with.

Place the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayo, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, salt, pepper, and pimentos (drained first) in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Use the paddle attachment to combine the items until well incorporated.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a food processor to gently pulse the ingredients until combined.

Place the dip in a bowl and serve with sliced baguette or crackers.  You might not have any room for dinner after enjoying the Pimento Cheese Spread!  Store any leftovers in the fridge.

The recipe can be found here.

Our main course will be Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Burgers.  The Kentucky Hot Brown started as an open-faced sandwich back in 1926 but has become a regional favorite.  It’s essentially sliced turkey and bacon on top of bread that is smothered in cheese sauce and broiled.

We’re going to have a slight variation of this by making turkey burgers.  The burgers are juicy and tender, the bacon is crispy, and the cheese sauce bring the whole sandwich together.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by making the glaze for the burgers.  Combine the bourbon, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.  Use any bourbon you would like.

Form the ground turkey into 4 patties.  Season both sides with McCormick’s Himalayan Pink Salt with Black Pepper & Garlic.  If you haven’t used this seasoning before it will quickly become a staple in your household.

Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat.  Generously spray with cooking spray, then add the burgers and cook for about 6-7 minutes on one side, then flip.

Once you flip the burgers, brush the bourbon mixture generously over the top of each burger.  You want to baste the burgers and let them absorb some of the delicious glaze flavors.  Let each burger cook for another 6-7 minutes, or until cooked through.

Flip the burgers back one last time, brush the bourbon mixture generously over the top of each burger again, and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Each burger should be tender and full of the delicious glaze at this point.  Remove from the heat.

This next step is optional.  I like to keep the burgers warm in a 200-degree F oven while preparing the cheese sauce.  It makes sure the burgers are hot when ready to eat but you can also transfer the burgers to a plate and cover them with aluminum foil to keep warm while you work on the rest of the ingredients.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk together.  Then add the heavy cream and whisk together.  Bring to a boil and continue to whisk while cooking for another 1-2 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese.  Stir to melt the cheese until combined.

Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and stir to combine.

Assemble the burgers by placing a burger patty on top of a burger bun.  Add 1-2 slices of tomato, followed by 2 slices on bacon (break in half first so they fit on the bun better).  Add a heaping spoonful (or 2) of the cheese sauce and sprinkle with sliced green onion.  Add the top half of the bun, slice in half to make it easier to eat, and enjoy!

The burgers are super messy but worth every bite!  The recipe can be found here.

We’ll be enjoying Frozen Mint Juleps while we cook, while we eat, and while watching the races.  A Mint Julep is a cocktail that consists of bourbon, sugar, water, ice, and fresh mint.  It is a very popular drink at the Kentucky Derby due to its bourbon/southern base.  We are going to jazz it up a bit and make a frozen version.

The recipe can be found here.

First, make the simple syrup.  Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and continuously stir until the sugar is dissolved.  You don’t want to use store-bought simple syrup because you will use the heat of the water to infuse the mint flavor.

Chop the mint and place in a heatproof bowl.  Pour the hot liquid over the mint and stir to combine.  Place in the fridge or freezer to cool completely.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.  Then, pour the simple syrup into the strainer to catch the pieces of mint.  Discard the mint.

You’ll need a blender to make the Frozen Mint Juleps.  Add the simple syrup, ice, and bourbon.  Crush the ice and process until smooth.

Pour into glasses and garnish with fresh mint.  Enjoy immediately!  And watch out for a brain freeze!

The recipe can be found here.

Our dessert course will consist of Mint Julep Fudge.  Think of a combination between Mint Julep and chocolate…. it’s a chocolaty, minty, bourbon-y, delicacy.

The recipe can be found here.

Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

Add 1/3 cup Andes Crème de Menthe Baking Bits, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla extract and 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk to a large saucepan.  Heat over low heat and stir until the chocolate has melted and is combined.  Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon.

Pour into the 8×8 baking pan and spread to the sides.

Add the white chocolate chips and the rest of the sweetened condensed milk from the can to a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in 30 second intervals until the chocolate has melted.  Stir to combine.

Add the mint extract and stir to combine.  The mixture might be thick but that’s ok!

Add dollops of the white chocolate mixture over the fudge.  Use an offset spatula or knife to swirl together.

Sprinkle the rest of the Andes Crème de Menthe Baking Bits on top and lightly press down so they stick to the fudge.

Place in the fridge to chill until firm, about 3-4 hours.  You can also place in the freezer to speed up the process if needed.  Slice and serve.  Add a small mint leave on top of each square before serving (optional).

So yummy!  It practically melts in your mouth.  The recipe can be found here.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and can find time to watch the Kentucky Derby.  Cooking is a fun way to spend the day, especially when it’s for family or friends, or to celebrate a fun event.  What better way to get in the spirit of horse racing than with some themed food?  Now place those bets and make your grocery list 🙂

Happy Cooking!

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