How to use a bourbon flavor infusion in your cooking

Lexington Herald-LeaderNovember 5, 2013 

“Bourbon: A Savor the South Cookbook” by Kathleen Purvis.

  • Meet the author

    Charlotte Observer Food Editor Kathleen Purvis will speak and sign copies of her new cookbook, “Bourbon: A Savor the South Cookbook.”

    • 11 a.m. Saturday, Barnes & Noble at The Streets at Southpoint, 8030 Renaissance Parkway, Durham, 919-806-1930.

    • 3 p.m. Saturday, Purvis will be joined by Belinda Ellis, author of “Biscuits: A Savor The South Cookbook,” and Fred Thompson, author of “ Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate,” at Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Road, Durham, 919-560-8590.

You can do more than drink bourbon. You can cook with it.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with drinking your bourbon with some mint and simple syrup or sipping it straight up, but bourbon also adds flavor to cakes and pies, livens up salad dressings, enhances the tang of a meat marinade, and even jazzes up a hot dog.

So let’s think about adding a few more splashes of bourbon to our meals.

In her new book, “Bourbon: A Savor the South Cookbook,” Kathleen Purvis writes, “If you’re going to use bourbon in food, you have to let the bourbon taste like bourbon.”

Because bourbon has so many flavor notes, it goes well with just about any food, she said.

“It has smokiness and earthiness, a peppery character, a natural sweetness, and a caramel, vanilla flavor. It loves oranges and apples, and it plays well with mushrooms and wild salmon,” said Purvis, food editor at The Charlotte Observer. Purvis will visit the Triangle this week to promote her cookbook, which includes 54 recipes and looks at the history of bourbon.

Purvis said she prefers to cook with a standard bourbon that’s reliable in flavor and reasonably priced. “Why cook with something that costs $30 or $40 a bottle?” she said.

These recipes will make a dent in a bottle of bourbon.

For a printable recipe, click on the link below:

Bourbon Pimento Cheese

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon Pimento Cheese From “Bourbon: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Kathleen Purvis (University of North Carolina Press, 2013). 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 3 tablespoons bourbon 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimentos, drained 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt Crackers or celery sticks for serving

COMBINE cheese, butter and bourbon in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it forms a paste. Beat in pimentos, garlic, Tabasco, cayenne pepper and salt. Pack into a crock, cover and chill until ready to use.

Yield: 2 cups. Bourbon Pecan Pie From “Bourbon: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Kathleen Purvis (UNC Press, 2013). 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust 2 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled 2 tablespoons bourbon 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 cup chopped pecans 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Line a pie plate with the pie crust, easing it into the bottom. Turn the edges under and crimp to make an edge.

WHISK eggs well in a mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in sugar, mixing well. Whisk in butter, bourbon and cornstarch. Stir in pecans and butterscotch chips, then pour mixture into pie crust.

BAKE for 45 minutes, covering the edge of the crust with foil if it’s getting too brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve with whipped cream flavored with a little bourbon.

Yield: 8 servings.

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