Kentucky Derby menu
My husband is from El Paso, Texas and grew up watching the horses, first tagging along with his dad to Sunland Park when he was 10 years old. Watching the Derby is a tradition, and a good excuse for me to make some Southern-inspired eats. Sometimes we have friends over for a viewing party, or sometimes we plan a low-key afternoon with just the two of us, as we did this past Derby Day. Mint Juleps in frosted silver-plated cups are always poured, and this year the menu included deviled eggs with espelette pepper, pimento cheese biscuits with bacon jam and bourbon ham spread, and country-fried steak bites with cream gravy. Below is my favorite pimento cheese biscuit recipe, along with the easy bourbon ham spread. Both make use of a food processor for quicker prep.
Pimento Cheese Biscuits (adapted from Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking)
- 2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup of lard, shortening and/or butter cut into half-inch pieces (I like to use half shortening, half butter)
- 1 cup of milk or buttermilk
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 drained 4-oz jar of pimentos or 4 oz of chopped roasted red peppers (I prefer peppers as jarred pimentos can be too soft)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Pulse flour 2 or 3 times in a food processor with the cheese. Scatter the chilled shortening or butter over the flour mixture and pulse 3-4 times until the mixture is well crumbled and the fat pieces are the size of a corn kernel. Add roasted red peppers and slowly pulse in 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk to make a moist and shaggy dough that clumps together. You may need to add more flour if it's too wet or more liquid if it's too dry. Turn dough out onto a board or surface lightly sprinkled with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half, pat out into a round, and fold in half again. Sprinkle with flour, pat dough a second time into a 3⁄4-inch-thick round, and cut into disks with a biscuit cutter. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with softened butter.
Bourbon Ham Spread
- 1-1/2 cups cooked ham
- 8 tablespoons of softened butter
- 1-2 tablespoons of good bourbon
Process all the ingredients in a food processor until you have a smooth spread. This can be frozen, but remember to bring to room temperature before serving.