Currently, Booyah is an expression of say, joy...."I aced my test...BOOYAH!"
Booyah! is even a social media and gaming site. But the Booyah any local Door County resident particularly from the Southern Door region means a thick chicken stew/soup cooked for many hours and served at church picnics, the fair or any type of fund raising event. So Booyah isn't just considered food... it is an event.
Booyah was originally thought to have been introduced by the Belgian community in Southern Door and after that it's debatable. Some thought maybe it was brought over in part by French fur traders, hence the Booyah... aka bouillon. Leave it to us Wisconsinites to mess up the pronunciation. Anyway, all I know is that I was at a Wheel of Fortune tryout in Green Bay and was one of the few contestants who knew Booyah was the answer for the question "What is the name of the Belgian chicken stew?" It's BOOYAH! I have had Booyah from time to time an have always been a huge fan. Although, I don't have an original recipe from a Belgian pal, I did find a few recipes and decided to try my hand at making the stoup (stew/soup) that everyone raves about. Here is how I started... The recipe called for a vat... yes, I have one. It's in use so don't look at the spots and grease. I also liked the recipes where they combined chicken with beef so that's the route I went. We were in the midst of a snowstorm this day so I used ingredients from my pantry and freezer so I cut this chuck roast into chunks and threw in the bone as well. The whole chicken I used was an organic chicken from friends who are farmers. It was large but not the "stewing chicken" the recipe calls for. I threw that in the pot right away because it was frozen and just added the chuck roast to it. Chicken cooks quicker that the beef so I thought I would give the beef a head start with the chicken being frozen. I simmered it with the ingredients the recipe called for for hours and hours until the beef started to break up. Then I pulled all the meat out and let it cool before I pulled it all apart and shredded it. Now was time for all the veg. I cut them into a dice while the meat was cooking. I added the meat back in after the vegetables cooked some and simmered the whole shebang for what seemed like forever. With this type of recipe it is kind of test as you go because everything has to be at the right stage of "doneness" before it is actually done. I added the rest of the ingredients, lemon juice, soy sauce and bouillon cubes which I of course added a lot more of. It's Booyah! It took me all day, I thought it was delish. My only regret is I didn't ask 15 of my friends to have dinner that night!
This is a traditional Chicken Booyah Recipe that I found and based my concoction...It is traditionally served with oyster crackers and I also left out the beans since I only had canned beans and that just seemed weird! Here is the recipe I used... but not to the tee.
1 pound beef stew meat, in 1 piece
2 pounds onions, chopped
Bay leaves, salt and pepper
1 large stewing chicken (6 lbs), cut up
1 bunch celery, chopped
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 pound cabbage, shredded
1/2 pound green beans, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes (or use fresh, if you've got good ones)
1/2 pound corn kernels
1/2 pound green peas
2 pounds red potatoes, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
1 or more tablespoons soy sauce
Additional salt and pepper to taste
2-4 bouillon cubes (optional)
Place beef in very large pot with some of the onion, a few bay leaves, and some salt and pepper. Add enough cold water to fill the pot 1/3 full. Bring to simmer, skim surface as needed and cook 1/2 hour. Add chicken parts, more water (to cover all the meat) and a little more salt. Continue to simmer 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables as described.
When meats are tender, lift them out of the broth. While meat is cooling, add the prepared vegetables, including the remaining onion. Add one type of vegetable at a time, bringing the broth back to a simmer after each addition (my brother-in-law says that if you add all the vegetables too fast, the broth tastes wrong...go figure).
Remove bones and skin from cooled chicken and beef. Chop the meats and add to the pots after all the veggies have been added. Simmer the soup at least two hours---longer preferred. Water may be added during the cooking process if necessary.
Season with lemon juice, soy sauce, beef bouillon (if desired) and salt and pepper to taste.
So if you happen on a restaurant, picnic, fair or church gathering and they are serving Booyah, grab yourself a bowl! The love that goes into the process of cooking Booyah is what makes it a delicacy...