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Photo courtsey of the St. Patrick Church in Askeaton.
A super “stick to your ribs”
soup-stew made with chicken. While chicken soup is universal and variations of
this dish can be found in many cultures world wide, northeastern Wisconsin is
the only place in the world where Chicken Booyah is found. It is a favorite at
the many festivals, church picnics, bazaars, and any other large gathering in
the northeast part of Wisconsin. This chicken soup is typically made in large 10
or 20-gallon batches, cooked outdoors over a wood fire, and worked on by several
people at once. Restaurants have their own special recipe. Booyah is lovingly
called “Belgian Penicillin.”
The first Belgian immigrants
arrived in Wisconsin in 1853. These immigrants were from the French-speaking
part of Belgium, with their own language called "Walloon." Walloon is not a
version of French. It is a language with its own grammar and vocabulary. Even
today, the area settled by these people in Wisconsin, they settled in a corner
of eastern Wisconsin near Lake Michigan, is known as the Walloon area. The
theory is that the uneducated Belgian could not spell, thus writing down the word he heard.
It is believed that the word
“Booyah” comes from the word “bouillon.” Another theory is that the word comes
from the French word “bouillir,” but also like the Walloon word "bouyu"
(pronounced like "boo-yu" with a "u" between and with the French pronunciation
of the letter). For years people have been trying to figure out the origination
and what makes it so special. Yannick Bauthičre of Gembloux, Belgium sent me the following information:
Walloons spoke Walloon. Only the most educated people (counts, dukes,
scholars, monks, etc.) spoke French as a second language. Our people started
to learn French when Belgium was created, in 1830. And even then, Walloon
remained our main language until World War II. My grand father spoke Walloon
much better than French. So, most settlers coming from Wallonia hardly spoke
much French. That's why, in my humble opinion, "booyah" doesn't come from
French "bouillon" or "bouillir" but from Walloon "bouyon" or "bouyu". But
that's just my opinion !!!!
Check out more of Linda's delicious
Soup, Stew, and
Cast-Iron Cooking Recipes.
Chicken Booyah - How To Make Chicken Booyah
This is one of those delicious recipes that makes a
large quantity. Plan to have family and friends over to help you eat it.
Soups and Stews,
Great Lakes (Wisconsin)
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 3 hr
1 (4- to 5- pound) whole roasting chicken, cut into quarters, chopped and divided
1 pound beef stew meat, bones included
1 pound pork stew meat, bones included
4 quarts water, divided
6 carrots, diced
potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 small bunch celery, diced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and cut up*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* To easily prepare the tomatoes, use a sharp knife and cut the tomatoes while
still in the can.
In a large soup pot or
cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat, add chicken, beef, pork, 1/2 of chopped
onions, and 2 quarts water; cover and bring to a boil, Reduce head to low and
simmer 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is tender and the meat falls from the
bone; remove chicken from the pot to a large bowl and set aside to cool (when
cool, take meat from the bones and cut into pieces). Refrigerate cooked chicken until ready to use.
Continue to cook beef and pork approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender.
Remove beef and pork from the pot to a large bowl and let cool (when cool, take
meat from the bones and cut into pieces). Refrigerate beef and pork until ready to use.
Strain the stock, place in refrigerator, and let cool. When cool, remove fat
from surface of stock. Return cooled and strained stock to soup pot. Add
remaining 2 quarts water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add remaining
onions, carrots, and potatoes; simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are
tender. Add chicken, beef, pork, peas, celery, tomatoes, salt and peppers;
simmer until thoroughly heated. Serve in large soup bowls.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.