April 12, 2021
During my two-and-a-half-year stint in Minnesota, I became familiar with a few dishes of which I was completely unaware of while growing up south of Chicago. And, no, I’m not talking about the traditional “just add Cream of Mushroom soup” line of recipes, but rather, here specifically, “Booyah.”
What always intrigued me was the unique name. “Booyah” is just as fun to say as it is to make. It’s essentially a stew (much like how “hotdish” is essentially a casserole). It is the love that goes into it—as well as its name—that sets it apart from any regular stew we’d make in Kansas, for example.
Though the recipe’s origins are murky, with immigrants from Hungary to Belgium laying claim to the original recipe, most folks suspect the name is a misinterpretation of the French word for broth: bouillon (pronounced “bool-yaan”).
Booyah is a cold-weather favorite among supper clubs and is served during fundraisers and large family gatherings throughout the Upper Midwest. The meal itself, if done correctly, is always complimentary to the community it creates. The process of preparing it, which takes several hours, should involve inviting as many friends and family as you can fit into your house and enjoying a few adult beverages while aromas of garlic, vegetables, and pheasant broth circulate through the air.
With my pheasant booyah (stew) recipe here, I do deviate slightly from classic variations. Because pheasant hails from the Far East, I add a few Asian culinary aspects. The end result is your traditional Booyah, with hints of a flavor profile you might find in Chinese take-out soup.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 4-5 hours
- 2 whole pheasants (including bones) skinned and quartered
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, diced and roasted
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- Half head of green cabbage, diced
- 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen corn
- 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen green beans
- 4 larges cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon pure sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice cooking wine)
- Ground black pepper and kosher salt, mixed use
- Sunflower oil, mixed use (vegetable or canola works too)
- Prior to starting the Booyah stew, thoroughly rinse potatoes then dice to approximately half-inch to inch size, lightly salt and pepper and rub with oil.
- Roast the potatoes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown (likely 18 to 20 minutes). Set aside.
- In a very large, tall stew pot (preferably at least 32 quarts) heated on medium-low, add a thin layer of oil followed by diced onions. Lightly salt and pepper.
- Stir until onions start to brown then add quartered pieces of pheasant. Raise heat to medium (perhaps between medium and medium-high). Again, lightly salt and pepper. Continue to stir and sear all sides of the pheasant alongside the onions.
- Once most sides of the pheasant are seared, turn to simmer and add finely minced garlic and continue to stir for 5 more minutes. Deglaze with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and mirin.
- Add cold water to pot, leaving ample room to add potatoes and vegetables later. Set pot to low simmer and check texture of pheasant after 1 hour.
- Once the pheasant meat starts to easily fall off the bone (could take upwards of 2 to 3 hours), remove the pheasant and take the meat off the bones. Shred meat and add back to the pot. Discard bones.
- Add diced carrots and cabbage and once slightly soft, add frozen vegetables and potatoes. Continue to stir.
- Booyah is finished when all vegetables are cooked and potatoes warm (and pheasant meat tender and shredded). Salt to taste before serving.