Booyah is a Belgian-style soup enjoyed during cold Midwestern winters and traditionally cooked in huge quantities of 10 or 20 gallons. Brought to the Walloon region of northern Wisconsin by Belgian immigrants in 1853, this stick-to-your-ribs beef and chicken soup has spread throughout the upper Midwest. The name is believed to be a Walloon adaptation of the French word “bouillon,” referencing the soup's savory broth. Authentic booyah is traditionally prepared in a large cauldron over an open fire, tended by multiple cooks, and often intended to serve 30–40 members of a community at once. This recipe gives a scaled-down version of the preparation that is more suitable for a home kitchen and does not require any equipment more exotic than a Dutch oven.
Recipe Servings: 8
- 2½ lbs bone-in, English-style short ribs, trimmed, meat and bones separated
- 2½ lbs bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
- Salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, minced
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
- 8 oz rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Prepare the meat, patting dry before seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Brown the beef for about 10 minutes, turning to brown all sides.
- Transfer the browned beef to a plate and cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Then transfer the chicken to the plate with the beef. When the chicken has cooled, remove and discard the skin.
- Remove all but a teaspoon or so of fat from the Dutch oven. Then add the onions and minced celery and cook the vegetables over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they have softened.
- Stir in the broth and the bay leaves; then add the browned meat and the beef bones and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. The chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 175°F.
- While continuing to simmer the soup, remove the chicken to a separate bowl, and, when cool enough to handle, shred into 1-inch pieces. Discard the bones. Cover the chicken and refrigerate. After an additional hour and 15 minutes, remove the beef to a separate plate and shred into similarly sized pieces, discarding the fat.
- Remove the beef bones and bay leaves; then strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, discarding all solids. Wait 5 minutes for the liquid to settle, and then skim off the fat and return the broth to the Dutch oven.
- Add the beef, cabbage, tomatoes, rutabaga, salt, and pepper, and bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and carrots, and cook for an additional 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.
- Add the chicken and peas, and simmer for an additional 2–3 minutes.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
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