This Kentucky-based stew is thick and hearty with various proteins and vegetables that simmer for a long time until tender and rich in flavor. Burgoo has stood the test of time because it not only uses pantry staples and inexpensive ingredients, including game meats and starchy veggies, but also serves a large group of people. Our version simmers beef chuck, chicken thighs and pork sausage until fork-tender and juicy. There’s also a generous portion of corn, potatoes and beans, as well as Worcestershire sauce to add umami and depth to the stew. We love this burgoo even more the next day once the flavors have had time to meld.
Heat the oil in a large stockpot (8-quart) over medium-high heat. Season the chicken and beef with a few pinches of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Add the chicken to the hot oil skin-side down and cook until the skin is golden brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue to cook until golden, about 2 minutes more. Carefully remove to a plate. Working in batches, cook the beef in a single layer spaced about an inch apart, turning a few times, until browned on at least three sides, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. As the beef finishes browning, transfer to a large plate.
Add the sausage to the pot and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon into small bite-size pieces, until cooked through and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion, bell pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables are crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
Return the chicken and beef to the pot, along with any juices that may have accumulated on the plates. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper, then give everything a good stir. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the chicken and beef are very tender, about 2 hours.
Keep the burgoo over low heat. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool slightly; remove and discard the skin and bones, then shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Skim the fat from the surface of the stew, discarding all but 1 tablespoon. Stir the 1 tablespoon of skimmed fat with the flour in a small bowl until a thick paste forms, then stir the paste into the stew. Add the potatoes, butter beans, corn and Worcestershire sauce. Increase the heat to medium-low, then continue to simmer uncovered until the potatoes are cooked through and the stew has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and stir in the vinegar, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve warm.
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