Kentucky Derby Recipe Collection

By: Sandee Lembke

Kentucky horse racing can be traced back to 1783 when races were being held in the middle of Kentucky streets and on a number of private tracks located on farms throughout the area.

Several concerned citizens complained about safety issues, and eventually the first race track was built in Lexington in 1789.

Almost one hundred years later in 1872, a young entrepreneur named Col. M. Lewis Clark traveled in England and France visiting a number of prominent racing leaders. Upon his return, he devised a plan to create a Louisville Jockey Club to showcase the Kentucky breeding industry.

The track formally opened May 17, 1875 when over 10,000 excited fans witnessed four spectacular races. The winner of the first race was Bonaventure, however the winner of the day's featured race, the Kentucky Derby, was a three-year-old chestnut colt named Aristides.

Eventually the track became known as "Churchill Downs-Home of the Kentucky Derby" because Clark leased the land from his uncles, John and Henry Churchill.

Over the years, several improvements have been made to the property, including the addition of the now famous spires on the top of the main building, making Churchill Downs the most well known horse racing venue in the United States.

This year, the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place on May 3, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. Take this opportunity to officially welcome Spring and plan a Kentucky Derby party. I've given you a few of my favorite recipes to help get you started.

Appetizer--Warm Vidalia Onion Dip

Made with the sweetest onions and served warm with your favorite crackers, get ready to hand out this recipe. Our Aunt Diane first made this dip and since then it has become a family favorite.

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sweet onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese Assorted crackers

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Stir in cheese and spoon mixture into shallow baking dish.

Bake for 40 minutes or until dip is bubbly. Serve warm with crackers.

Main Course--Benedictine (Cucumber Sandwiches)

Served regularly at the Kentucky Derby, Benedictine is made with cucumber and cream cheese and is named after the restaurant that first created it. The most common way to eat it is to make finger sandwiches by spreading the mixture on cocktail bread. You can also thin it out with sour cream to make a dip for vegetables.

1 large cucumber Grated

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons onion

1/4 tsp salt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Dash green food coloring (optional)

Cocktail bread (pumpernickel is good) or vegetables

To make it, start by paring, grating and draining the cucumber. Combine with remaining ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined.

Dessert--Kentucky Derby Pie

There are a million recipes for Kentucky Derby Pie but I like this one because it's made with chocolate and walnuts. It's rich and gooey.

1/2 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

1 tablespoon bourbon

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 prepared 8 inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread chocolate chips and nuts in bottom of prepared pie shell.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Mix in flour. Beat the eggs slightly, and stir into the creamed mixture. Add bourbon.

Pour filling into pie shell (over chips and nuts) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Cocktail--Limoncello Mint Lemonade

Limoncello Mint Lemonade is a new wave cocktail made with fresh mint leaves.

1/2 cup lemonade concentrate

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Ice cubes

1/4 cup Limoncello (lemon liqueur)

1/2 cup club soda

In a small pitcher, "muddle" mint leaves together with lemonade concentrate and lemon juice. Muddle means to bruise the leaves so they release their flavor. I use the end of a wooden spoon.

Stir in ice cubes, Limoncello and club soda and pour into 4 glasses. Top them off with a lemon slice and a sprig of fresh mint.

Makes 4-10 oz. drinks.

Invite some friends over, make some great food and watch the Kentucky Derby together. Hopefully I've given you some recipes to start with.

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