GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

How Booyah became the unofficial soup of Wisconsin

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – There’s nothing more satisfying than having a warm bowl of soup on a cold, winter day. Especially as Northeast Wisconsin prepares for an arctic blast.

February 4 is National Homemade Soup Day. In Wisconsin, the homemade soup or stew of choice is booyah. Booyah is a fall stew made of primarily chicken, beef, pork, and vegetables commonly made in the Upper Midwest. The dish, originated in Belgium, dates back to the 1800’s, then made its way to Brussels when Belgians migrated to Wisconsin. The soup, traditionally cooked in kettles over a wood-burning fire, is often served at church picnics and school fundraisers.

Booyah got its unique name by accident. There are several stories of how the stew acquired its name. Green Bay resident Andrew Rentmeester was holding a fundraiser and spoke to a journalist to promote it. When the journalist asked Rentmeester to spell the word “bouillon” Rentmeester spelled “b-o-o-y-a-h” instead. The newspaper printed the incorrect spelling, and the name stuck.

The Booyah Shed in Green Bay is known for having some of the best booyah in the area, according to their customers.

“I think he makes it with love. I remember my grandma used to make it years ago and I loved hers and I think I love this one better. Everything’s that’s in it is good for you, makes you feel good. It’s kind of a cure of all ailments,” says customer of the month, David Rusch.

Rusch eats at the Booyah Shed at least once a week. Daniel Nitka, booyah expert and owner of The Booyah Shed, says the beauty of booyah is that you can really make it your own.

“Everybody makes it different. There’s no right or wrong way to make it. It’s whatever you have you throw it in a kettle you make it how you like it. You can’t get much more homemade then how we’re doing it. We’re doing it old school. We’re slow cooking the chickens, we’re de-boning the chickens. Putting probably an average of 12 to 16 hours up to 20 in a batch,” says Nitka.

In honor of National Homemade Soup Day, try either boiling your own pot of booyah or supporting a local business that serves the dish.

The Booyah Shed is located on 1800 S Ashland Avenue. For more information on The Booyah Shed, click here.

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