Derby Party Ideas

Pick a pony. Hang on to your hats.

Derby ’09 is a mere five days away!

Since mint juleps are potent (and west coast celebrations start no later than 2 p.m.) hearty party nibbles are critical.

As promised, here are two blue-ribbon recipes guaranteed to help soak up some of that bourbon.

The first is adapted from Derby 101: A Guide to Food and Menus for Kentucky Derby Week. The second is a Houghton family fave.


Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie (aka Kentucky Derby Pie)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Melt butter and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat eggs just enough to break them up but not get them too frothy. Gradually add sugar, mixing until just blended. Stir in butter and boubon. Blend in cornstarch. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into pie shell. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45-50 minutes. Cool 1 hour before serving.

If the pie cools completely, warm it for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

I serve mine with fresh whipped cream (or Breyer’s vanilla) and a sprig of mint. Heaven!

Old Dominion Ham Biscuits

  • 1 package soft, 20-piece party rolls
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb. thinly sliced smoked ham
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced swiss cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice rolls in half. Combine butter, poppy seeds, worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and grated onion. Spead on the inside top and bottom halves of the rolls. Layer a little bit of ham and cheese on each bottom half. Replace top halves to create mini sandwiches.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. Trust me, they’re a surefire crowd pleaser!

Still hungry? You might also consider:

Happy Derby Day, y’all!

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