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Kentucky Benedictine – A Kentucky Derby Classic Spread

Kentucky Benedictine is a simple, yet classic cream cheese based spread that is made with cucumber, onion, and a little hot pepper or hot sauce.

It is traditionally tinted green with the use of food coloring and spread between two pieces of white bread (with the crusts cut off) to make tea sandwiches.

This recipe was created in Louisville, Kentucky by Jennie Benedict at the turn on the 20th century. She was a famous caterer and opened her own tea room where these sandwiches became hugely popular and a Kentucky staple.

In fact, they are so popular that they are a must-make recipe for any Kentucky Derby watch party. And of course, don’t forget to wash it down with a Classic Old Forester Mint Julep as you watch the race.

Use As A Spread or Dip

Although the spread was originally made as the main ingredient for sandwiches, it has evolved over time to be used as a dip with crackers or vegetables as well.

However, in order for it to become a dip the spread will need to be thinned out a bit before being served. This can be done by adding a little sour cream to the mixture.

Although my preferred method to thin out the mixture is to grate the cucumber and onion and skip the draining process. It is a much easier way to make the dip in my opinion.

kentucky benedictine sandwiches

Kentucky Benedictine

Ingredients

English cucumber 
White onion
Cream cheese
Cayenne pepper or green hot sauce
Kosher salt
Green food coloring, optional

Instructions

The first step in making this spread is to peel the English cucumber and slice it in half lengthwise. Then remove the seeds and discard.

cucumber and onion

Of course, if you want to keep it rustic, you can skip peeling the cucumber and grate it with the peel left on.

However, be sure to remove the seeds regardless of whether you peel it or not. The seed core contains a high moisture content and will make the Kentucky Benedictine spread too runny.

Once the cucumber is prepped, grate it using the grater blade in a food processor or grate by hand. Then place the grated cucumber in a colander placed over a bowl to drain.

While the cucumber is draining, grate the white onion and add it to the colander with the cucumber. Then sprinkle the salt on top and lightly mix the salt into the grated cucumbers and onions.

The addition of the salt will draw the moisture out of the cucumber and onions, allowing it to release as much moisture as possible.

cucumber draining

Using a spatula press down on the mixture to allow the excess liquid to drain off. Let it sit for 10 minutes, pressing down every few minutes to release the liquid.

Skip The Draining Process If Making A Dip

However, if you are making a dip instead of a spread, skip the draining process all together and add the salt when you mix the vegetables with the cream cheese.

Next, in the bowl of a mixer or food processor add the drained cucumber, onion, cream cheese, and cayenne pepper (or hot sauce). Beat or pulse until just combined.

Add the two drops of food coloring and mix until well incorporated. This step is optional but will give you that traditional green color in Kentucky Benedictine.

green food coloring

Place the spread into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if desired. Remember, the longer it sits, the more time the flavors have time to meld together.

Serve as a tea sandwich between bread with the crusts removed or serve with crackers or sliced vegetables if desired.

And be sure to root on your favorite horse that just might win the next Triple Crown!

Other Great Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

kentucky benedictine spread

Enjoy! Mary

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kentucky benedictine sandwiches

Kentucky Benedictine

Yield: 1.5 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A cool, creamy spread used for tea sandwiches or as a dip served with crackers.  A quick and easy recipe that is a Kentucky Derby classic

Ingredients

  • 1 large English cucumber 
  • ¼ medium white onion
  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
  • pinch of Cayenne pepper or 1/2 tablespoon green hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 drops of green food coloring, optional

Instructions

Peel the English cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and discard. Grate in a food processor or by hand. Place the grated cucumber in a colander to drain.

Grate the white onion and add it to the colander with the cucumber. Sprinkle the salt on top and lightly mix.

Press down on the mixture to drain the excess liquid. Let sit for 10 minutes pressing every few minutes to drain.

In the bowl of a mixer or food processor add the drained cucumber, onion, cream cheese, and cayenne pepper (or hot sauce). Beat or pulse until just combined.

Add the two drops of food coloring and mix until well incorporated. This step is optional but will give you that traditional green color in Kentucky Benedictine.

Place into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if desired.

Serve on bread with the crusts removed or serve with crackers.

Notes

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

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