Kentucky Burgoo

Burgoo is a thick, rich stew that is probably Kentuckys best known dish. Lamb is often the meat of choice for Burgoo, although beef can be substituted if you prefer.

1 fat hen (about 4 pounds)
2 pounds lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (14 ounce) can tomato puree
12 Irish potatoes, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
1 head cabbage , finely chopped
8 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped, OR 1 (24 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
8 ears of corn, cut off the cob
4 cups fresh carrots. sliced
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen butter beans

Place chicken, lamb, water, and black and cayenne pepper in a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven, adding more water if necessary to completely cover chicken. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lamb is tender and chicken falls off the bone, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove chicken from pot, leaving the lamb in the cooking liquid. Discard skin and remove meat from bones, Shred meat and return to the cooking liquid. Add tomato puree, potatoes, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots and corn. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Cook slowly, stirring from the bottom to prevent scorching until burgoo is the consistency of a thick stew, about 3 to 4 hours. Add water, if necessary, to keep from sticking, then add butterbeans and cook until tender, about 15 minutes more.

Serves 10.

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