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Wisconsin's Booyah Stew, Part 2

Jeff Cheek —

Last week's column introduced Wisconsin's Booyah Stew — and the struggles of early Belgian immigrants. This week's column is about — their successes, their assimilation, and the way Booyah Stew was transformed — from a survival dish into a rich, festive dish for holidays and celebrations. — Booyah comes from the French word "bouillir" (to boil). Both dishes use — the same name but have little in common. One is nourishment, the other — is a feast.

These new Americans went to work, transforming a wild — country into a prosperous farming state. There are no positive figures, — but it took about three years of grinding toil to turn a wooded tract — into a prosperous farm. In the process, they helped turn Wisconsin into — "America's Dairyland." Their roots were not forgotten. They founded towns — with names like Belgium, Namur and Brussels. Meanwhile the trees they — felled to clear the land were sawn into shingles. There was a ready market — for these as American cities grew. This income gave the immigrants a better — life. Their traditional Booyah Stew evolved from a thin broth into a hearty, — meaty ragout. These Belgian immigrants assimilated, taking their proper — place in the political life of their new homeland. During the Civil War, — 91,379 Union soldiers were from Wisconsin. Some of these soldiers were — Belgian immigrants. A decade earlier they were starving children in Brabant. — Now they were standing tall, serving the country that had given them hope.

Nobody, including the Wisconsin Historical Society which — supplied the following recipe, can pinpoint the time when the new Booyah — Stew was invented. However, it was long before 1895. An old woman, one — of the original immigrants, said that she had never eaten a Booyah Stew — as rich as the one she had just been served.

Ingredients: — roasting chicken, disjointed

1 pound beef stew meat, with bones

1 pound pork stew meat, with bones

1/2 cup minced parsley

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon sage

4 cups quartered potatoes

2 cups chopped onion

2 cups chopped celery

1 cup carrots, cut up

1 cup green beans, cut up

1 cup fresh peas

1 cup peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes

2 lemons

Preparation: Put meat in deep kettle, cover with boiling — water. Bring to simmer, remove scum from top, then add herbs and seasoning. — Simmer for about one hour. Remove chicken, cool, and remove meat from — bones. Chop and set aside. Let beef and pork cook for 45 minutes more, — then remove and slice meat from bones. Set aside.

Add vegetables to broth and boil for l0 to l5 minutes. — Return meat to pot, add juice of two lemons. Stir well and serve in large — bowls garnished with grated lemon rind.