Sunday, November 22, 2015

Only in Louisville...

I was born and grew up in Louisville, Ky. I (wrongfully) assumed that everyone knew of – and loved – pimento cheese, benedictine cheese, The-Pie-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and Henry Bain sauce. I've written about the first three of these Louisville originals before, so it seemed only fair to introduce you to Henry Bain.

Mr. Bain (1863-1928), the creator of this piquant, tangy, brown condiment, was a head waiter at the private Pendennis Club in downtown Louisville. He developed the sauce for steaks and locally killed game. Legend has it that the all-male club members would routinely bring their kills to the club to be cooked and sauced with the magical Henry Bain sauce.

My grandfather was a member (and long-ago President) of the Pendennis Club so I have lots of memories of dining at this club. (For many years, membership was only open to males. All female guests had to enter the club via the side door. At some point, that rule was dropped; my grandfather however, insisted that my sisters and I continue to observe the old tradition. Out of respect for him, I did – rather begrudgedly. I'm pleased to report that today, the membership is far more diverse than in my grandfather's day and, when invited, I proudly enter by the front door.)

I've seen some jars of Henry Bain sauce for sale at local grocers and specialty food stores; but here's the thing: it is simple to make. You just dump 6 ingredients from the condiment aisle of Kroger into a bowl, mix it up, and funnel it into jars. That's what I did in about 10 minutes last night. I used recycled maple syrup jars and here's the result of my efforts:

I need to figure out how to print a Farm Dover label and then I'm all set to give four lucky people a bottle of this Louisville tradition.

In addition to being delicious on a steak or chop, you can simple pour some over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers. 

Here's the recipe that I used...

Henry Bain Sauce

1 (17 ounce) jar Major Grey chutney
1 (14 ounce) bottle of ketcup
1 (10 ounce) bottle of Worcestershire sauce
1 (12 ounce) bottle chili sauce
1 (10 ounce) bottle of A1 Steak Sauce
A couple of dashes of Tabasco Sauce

Mix all together and pour into sterile jars.

Note: the original recipe also calls for 4.5 ounces of pickled walnuts. In all the recipes I found, it was considered an optional ingredient. I suspect that is because this ingredient is hard to find nowadays. 

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