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What is Booya and What Does it Have to Do With Fundraisers in Minnesota?

Updated on September 28, 2009

“Booya”, a popular word you often hear in the fall in the woodsy states of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Some people have been quite confused as to what Booya is because when someone says 'Let's go to the Booya', one may think they're headed to a party.

However, Booya is a type of thick soup or stew. It is well-known in the areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and in Northeast Wisconsin. Booyas do not seem to be celebrated anywhere else.

As with anything in cultural history, the origin has been hotly debated. It is believed that the word Booya comes from the Belgian word for Broth, boullier, yet others believe that French Canadian traders brought the dish as well as the name to the region.

What is in a booya is often stew or soup items like chicken meat, rutabegga, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, corn, etc.

Today, no matter what the booya, the dish brings people together for fund raisers and gatherings, such as church pic-nics, festivals, bazaars, and any other large gathering. Most booyas are random recipes and range from recipes like the one below. This dish loves creativity!

Booya Recipe


  • 2 lb. cubed beef
  • 3 lb. chicken
  • 2 soup bones (optional)
  • 1/2 c. dry split peas
  • 1 lg. head of purple cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 lb chopped carrots
  • 1 lb chopped celery
  • 1 lb chopped rutabaga
  • 3 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 lb stewed tomatoes (2 - 16 oz)
  • 2 lbs whole kernel corn (2 - 16 oz)

Directions: Combine ingredients except tomatoes and corn in a large kettle and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked (2 - 3 hours). Remove bones and skim fat from soup stock. Add drained tomatoes and corn and simmer 1 more hour. Season to taste.


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