If you're looking for Kentucky Derby recipes, look no further!, the following recipes were created for those of us viewing the 143rd Run for the Roses from the comforts of home. These dishes, created by Virginia Willis, the Kentucky Derby 143 celebrity chef at The Mansion, include Oven-Fried Chicken-on-a-Stick with Vidalia–Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, succulent Bourbon Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Barbecue Sauce, and a lower in fat Makeover Broccoli Mac & Cheese.
The lineup of cocktails feature more than just bourbon. The following cocktail recipes, curated by Charles Joly, the first American to be crowned Global Bartending Champion (and the Kentucky Derby’s official mixologist), not only spotlight classic southerly flavors, but embody the wild grit that can only be found on the other side of the Mason Dixon. The Breeze Julep is a variation on the simple mint julep that is decidedly a bit more complex, brighter and arguably more refreshing. The Sure Thing is a perfect blend of botanicals, fruit, citrus tang, and a touch of sparkle. The Louisville One, Two Punch combines flavors to keep you going all Derby long: local Bourbon, local beer, a touch of caffeine and lots of refreshment. And the Prescription Julep #2 is bold, boozy, aromatic and complex.
So if you can't make it to Kentucky, bring a taste of Churchill Downs to your home and cook up this menu for the races!
Oven-Fried Chicken-on-a-Stick with Vidalia–Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Makes 16 to serve 8
"Who doesn’t like food on a stick? There’s something naturally fun about handheld food. It elicits memories of country fairs and football games. This recipe was inspired by the offerings of a gas station in Oxford, Mississippi. I am a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based out of Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi, to the rest of you) that documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. I generally pay a visit to Oxford each fall for the yearly SFA symposium. Being a Southern college town, there are robust opportunities for boozy carousing. Fried-chicken-on-a-stick is food consumed late at night in attempts to mitigate hangovers or the next morning as an answer to one. This recipe maintains the crispy flavor without the calories." ~Chef Willis
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (11/2 pounds)
2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Vidalia–Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, for serving (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, combine the salt, 1 teaspoon of the paprika, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the onion powder, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the buttermilk and whisk until the salt is completely dissolved and the spices are dispersed in the liquid.
Cut the chicken lengthwise into about 1-inch-wide strips. Add to the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Do not marinate any longer or the chicken will be too salty. If you can’t cook it right at the 30-minute mark, remove the chicken from the marinade and refrigerate until ready to continue.)
In a large shallow dish (a 9 by 13-inch baking dish works well), combine the bread crumbs, the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika, the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of onion powder, and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the 2 tablespoons oil and toss well to coat. Whisk together the egg whites and mustard in a second large shallow dish. Season both mixtures with pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then set an ovenproof rack on it. Coat the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and thread onto sixteen 12-inch bamboo skewers, dividing the meat evenly, about 1 strip per skewer. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Place in the bread crumb mixture one skewer at a time, sprinkle with crumbs to cover, and press so the coating adheres to both sides. Gently shake off any excess crumbs and place the skewers on the prepared rack.
Bake the chicken, turning halfway through, until golden brown and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
Vidalia–Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Makes 21/4 cups
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and quartered
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the vinegar, onion, garlic, honey, and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow steady stream until thick and emulsified. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Bourbon Grilled Pork Chops
with Peach Barbecue Sauce
Serves 4 and makes 3 cups sauce
"Pork chops are a tender, quick-cooking cut of meat. In fact, so quick-cooking, that they are actually very easy to overcook. Cooking these chops on the bone, instead of using boneless chops, will help the pork cook more evenly, and make them less likely to dry out. Just make sure to trim away as much fat as possible for healthier results. The tangy Peach Barbecue Sauce, flavored with the zip of ginger and vinegar, and sweetened with natural honey, would be incredible on grilled or roasted chicken, as well.
I’ll be honest with you, this is a splurge meal since we’re cooking the meat on the bone and serving it with barbecue sauce—a plan-for-it, make-sure-to-work-out-that-day dinner. But, it’s worth it! I find it so depressing for someone to say to me, “Oh, you can’t have that on your diet, can you?” It’s not about “no,” it’s about saying “yes!” I can have anything as long as I am accountable with my exercise and stick to my plan. So, believe me, I am going to gnaw on this bone until it shines." ~Chef Willis
4 peaches (about 11/4 pounds), halved, pitted, and quartered
2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and quartered
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup coarse kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups boiling water
3 cups ice cubes
4 center cut, bone-in pork chops, about 1-inch thick, well trimmed, (23/4 to 3 pounds)
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the peaches and tomatoes until smooth; set aside. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the reserved peach-tomato puree, vinegar, honey, and bourbon; season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to simmer. Cook until the mixture is reduced by half and thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for the seasoning with salt and pepper. Reserve 1⁄4 cup sauce for basting the chops, and keep the remaining sauce warm in the saucepan until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, place the remaining 1⁄4 cup salt and brown sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour over the 2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add the ice cubes and stir to cool. Add the pork chops, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate to marinate, about 30 minutes. (Do not marinate any longer or the pork will be too salty. If you can’t cook it right at the 30-minute mark, remove the pork from the marinade and refrigerate until ready to continue.) Remove from the brine, rinse well, and thoroughly dry pat with paper towels. Set aside.
Season the pork chops with pepper. Prepare a charcoal fire using about 6 pounds of charcoal and burn until the coals are completely covered with a thin coating of light gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Spread the coals evenly over the grill bottom, position the grill rack above the coals, and heat until medium-hot (when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill surface for no longer than 3 or 4 seconds). Or, for a gas grill, turn all burners to high, close the lid, and heat until very hot, 10 to 15 minutes. Or, preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. Place the pork chops in the grill pan or on the grill and grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, brushing with Peach Barbecue Sauce in the last few minutes. Remove to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to rest and let the juices redistribute, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately with reserved warm sauce on the side.
An instant-read thermometer is your best friend when it comes to cooking meat on the grill. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge the doneness of the meat, especially when you’ve got hot and cold spots on the grill, distractions like kids running around the yard, and the inevitable conversation magnet that a grill can be. An accurate digital instant-read thermometer will be your best grill-friend who will save you from overcooked chops or underdone chicken.
Makeover Broccoli Mac & Cheese
"From the familiar blue and white box to fancy eight-cheese combinations, Americans can’t seem to get enough of mac and cheese. It’s rich, simple, and satisfying, friendly and familiar, but never dull. I’ll tell you a secret. For years, I didn’t have a microwave, but if I felt down in the dumps, my food sin was frozen Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese. I would go to the store to buy it, remove the pasta Popsicle from the plastic container, transfer it to a baking dish, and bake it in the oven for the suggested hour. I knew how ridiculous it was and that I could have made far better in the same amount of time. Let me just say that macaroni and cheese will make you do crazy things. Instead of making a béchamel, I whisk flour into low-fat milk to make a slurry, and I sub out some of the cheese with low-fat cottage cheese. The end result is that this macaroni makeover is equally creamy and comforting, but without the crazy calories." ~Chef Willis
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced- fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded 75 percent reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
2 tablespoons panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 3/4 cups 2 percent milk
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces (2 cups) whole wheat elbow macaroni
12 ounces ( 4 cups) broccoli florets and stems
Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the two cheeses. Mix 1⁄4 cup of the cheese mixture, the bread crumbs, and paprika in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the cheese sauce, heat 11⁄2 cups of the milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Whisk remaining 1⁄4 cup milk and the flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 11⁄2 cups of the cheese mixture and the cottage cheese until melted. Stir in the dry mustard, and nutmeg, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets. Drain well and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread the pasta-broccoli mixture in the prepared baking dish; sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.
The Breeze Julep
This variation on the simple mint julep is decidedly a bit more complex, brighter and arguably more refreshing. Joly has added blackberries, the state fruit of Kentucky, along with a touch of Amaro, bringing in a bit of depth and fruit notes. The addition of lemon juice softens the drink overall, lowering the ABV and making it a cocktail that can be enjoyed all day.
1 ½oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
½ oz Amaro
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
Blackberries & Mint
Prebatch Woodford, Amaro, lemon and simple syrup. Place 3 blackberries and 8 mint leaves in bottom of julep (or collins) glass. Gently muddle. Add 3oz of batch and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with fresh blackberry skewer and bouquet of mint. Serve in a Collins glass.
The Sure Thing
1 ½ oz Gin
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¼ oz dry curacao
½ oz simple syrup
1 tablespoon, strawberry-rhubarb jam
Top with 1oz dry sparkling
Combine gin, lemon juice, curacao, syrup and jam in a Boston shaker with ice. Shake well and double strain through a sieve into a chilled cocktail coupe. Top with 1 oz sparkling wine. Mist with lemon oils and garnish with lemon twist.
Louisville One, Two Punch (serves 6)
10oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
2oz Benedictine Liquor
6oz fresh lemon juice
4oz Black Citron Syrup (see note below)
12oz American Pale Ale beer
Combine bourbon, Benedictine, lemon juice and tea syrup. Chill until very cold. Top with American Pale Ale beer. Garnish with cucumber and lemon wheels. Top with mint sprigs.
Note: To make Black Citron Syrup, brew a strong cup of Black Citron tea. In a pinch an orange-black tea will substitute. Strain tea from liquid and combine with an equal amount of white sugar. Stir until dissolved and chill.
Prescription Julep #2 (shown at top)
An evolution of the 19th century Prescription Julep (that showcased Cognac as the base accompanied by rye whiskey), this rendition spins it out a few steps further. Bold, boozy, aromatic and complex.
¾ oz bourbon
¾ oz Cognac
¾ oz Rum
½ oz pineapple syrup
Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Dash of cocktail bitters
10 mint leaves
Combine bourbon and mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup. Gently muddle to release mint oils. Add remaining ingredients and stir in the julep cup. Fill completely with crushed ice. Place bouquet of mint and straw into cup.