The name is a lot less mysterious than it sounds. Since “booyah” is a dialect rendering of bouillon, our soup-stew is really a form of chicken bouillon. There are as many variations as soup makers, but this particular version dates from the 1880s in Fox River Valley. Quantities have been scaled down from the usual one-hundred-gallon cookers favored by Booyah Kings and their Pretenders.
Put chicken in a deep kettle with the beef and pork. Cover with boiling water. Bring slowly to a simmer, remove scum from the top, and add herbs and seasonings. Simmer very gently, covered, about 1 hour. Remove chicken and, when cooled, take meat from the bones and cut into pieces. Let beef and pork continue to cook until tender, 45 minutes to an hour more. Remove and let cool enough to remove meat from bones. Add vegetables to the broth and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
Grate lemon rind and set aside; remove white pith and seeds from the lemons, chop the pulp, and add to the broth. Taste for seasoning. While vegetables are still crisp, return the meat pieces to the broth to heat through. Serve in large soup bowls and sprinkle with the lemon rind.
© 1986 Betty Fussell. All rights reserved.