The natural bounty of Lexington's Bluegrass Region is a constant source of inspiration for our talented chefs. These recipes will help satisfy your taste for Kentucky until you can make it to Lexington. Yes, we are fiercely proud of our culinary traditions, but we are willing to share a few secrets and some special ingredients which might include Kentucky-grown sorghum, banana pepper mayonnaise, or, of course, Bourbon!

Compliments of Chef Jonathan Lundy: 

Pimento Cheese Grit Fries

Makes about 50 fries; serves 6
*2 cups pureed roasted pimento peppers, canned
*2 1/2 cups heavy cream
*5 cups water
*2 1/2 cups grits (not instant style)
*1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon white pepper
*1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*Oil for frying
*Green Tomato Piccallili Relish
*Fire-Roasted Banana Pepper Mayonnaise

1. Mix together pepper puree, heavy cream and water in a medium-sized pot and place over high heat. Bring to boil.
2. Stir in the grits until thoroughly incorporated.
3. Reduce heat to low, just enough to simmer. Continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring often.
4. Stir in cheddar cheese, salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Continue to simmer another 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and pour grits onto a greased cookie sheet pan and refrigerate for 2 hours.
6. When thoroughly firm, flip pan over onto a cutting board.
7. Cut the grits into 1/2-inch thick bars approximately 3 inches long.
8. Place the "fries" onto another cookie sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer.
9. When ready to serve, place about 3/4 inch of oil into a large skillet. Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the grit fries into the skillet. Allow the fries to develop a golden color with a crispy texture.
10. Remove the fries from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
11. Line a plate with Fire-Roasted Banana Pepper Mayonnaise. Stack Grit Fries (5 per plate) like Lincoln Logs and top each stack with 1-2 tablespoons of Green Tomato Piccallili Relish.


Courtesy of Wild Thyme Cooking School: 

Back to the Races Bourbon Bread Pudding

Bourbon Sauce Ingredients:

*½ cup butter, melted
*3/4 cup sugar
*1 egg
*1-1 1/2 cups Kentucky Bourbon of your preference

Bread Pudding Ingredients:
*1/2-1 loaf French bread, cut into 1 inch squares
*1 pint milk
*2 eggs, lightly beaten
*1 cup sugar
*1 Tbsp vanilla
*1/2 cup raisins or cranberries (soaked in 1/8 cup bourbon)
*1/8 tsp allspice
*1/4 tsp cinnamon
*1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

Bourbon Sauce Directions:
In a saucepan, melt butter- add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, (do not let simmer, because it could curdle) until mixture thickens. Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving.
Bread Pudding Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F
Soak the bread in milk. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins in.
Pour butter into the bottom of a baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well. Pour in the bread mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge.
Serve with bourbon sauce poured over the top of each serving.

Drunken Spareribs

* 4 pounds spareribs
* 1/4 cup Kentucky Bourbon
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Place ribs on rack in roasting pan. Mix remaining ingredients and spread thickly over both sides of ribs. Roast in 350-degree F oven until brown and crisp (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours), turning once and basting frequently with sauce.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

*4 tablespoons cocoa
*2 cups powdered sugar
*1/2 cup Kentucky Bourbon
*1/4 cup light corn syrup
*2 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
*1 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
*1/2 cup powdered sugar
In a large bowl, sift cocoa and powdered sugar together. Add the whiskey and corn syrup; mix until well blended. Fold in crushed vanilla wafers and nuts and mix thoroughly.
Roll dough into small balls and then roll in powdered sugar. Store in air-tight container.


Courtesy of chef and author Edward Lee: 

Edward Lee's Quick Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeños

* 1 pound jalapeño peppers, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
* 1 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
* 1 cup bourbon
* 1/2 cup honey
* 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
* 2 bay leaves

1. Transfer sliced jalapeños to a 2-quart screw-top jar.
2. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, bourbon, honey, coriander seeds, salt, mustard seeds, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; then simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Pour hot liquid over jalapeños and seal jar with tight-fitting lid. Let cool to room temperature; then refrigerate for 3 days before serving. (Jalapeño pickles can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

Kentucky Bourbon Chicken

* 4 oz. soy sauce
* 4 oz. Kentucky Bourbon
* 4 cloves of garlic (or more) pressed
* 2 fingers of fresh ginger grated
* 2 oz. olive oil
* Chicken; usually legs and/or thighs- however any parts can be used. Spread chicken skin side up on a flat pan in one layer after marinating for a couple of hours. The longer it marinates, the stronger the flavor. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook for 45 minutes. The chicken can also be broiled.

Ginger Cake

1/2 cup grape seed or canola oil, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/4 stick (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 1/3 cup cake flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Anjou pear, cored and sliced into a mix of thin rounds and matchsticks
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Unsprayed borage blossoms (optional)

Bourbon Frosting
3 stick (3/4 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup good-quality bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 boxes (1 pound each) confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8-inch-round cake pans. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together oil, butter, and brown sugar, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time; then beat in grated ginger until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
3. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and coconut milk. Set wet-ingredient mixture aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and ground ginger. Set dry-ingredient mixture aside.
5. Alternate adding wet and dry mixtures, a little at a time, to the egg mixture, mixing on medium-low speed until well blended.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake on middle rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into cake center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes; then remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
7. Place 1 cake on a cake stand. Using a small offset spatula, frost the sides and top with Bourbon Frosting. Top with the second cake, and frost the sides and top.
8. In a small bowl, toss pear with lime juice and zest. Garnish cake with pear mixture and, if desired, borage blossoms.
9. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add bourbon and vanilla, and continue mixing until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, mixing until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.


Recipe courtesy of Chef Ouita Michel: 

Sorghum Bourbon Vinaigrette

Blend on low speed or shake wildly in a 1-quart jar until everything combines:
*1/2 cup pure sorghum
* 3 tablespoons Woodford Reserve Bourbon
*1/2 cup malt or cider vinegar
* A few shakes of Tabasco sauce or Sav's Piment
* 2 teaspoons grated onion
*Salt to taste
*1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*1 cup olive oil

(For those new to sorghum, this traditional Kentucky product is similar to molasses, which comes from sugar cane. Sorghum comes from sorghum cane, which flourishes in central Kentucky.)

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