ELEPHANT SOUP

 

In African villages, a successful hunt means a share of fresh meat for everyone. After traveling in equatorial Africa one observer wrote, "...the gorge they all go in for after a successful elephant hunt is a thing to see--once". (Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, 1897.) There can still be more meat than can be immediately consumed, especially when there are no refrigerators or freezers, so a tradition of preserving meat by drying or smoking has developed throughout Africa. Dried meat, called biltong (similar to jerky) is often eaten as is. If possible, obtain real African biltong (from an international or African import grocery store). There are many websites with recipes telling how to make your own biltong. South Africans in particular are sensitive about comparing African biltong to American beef jerky.

 

½ pound of biltong, or dried or smoked meat like beef jerky (the original recipe mentions elephant meat coated with salt and honey and dried in the sun)
6 - 8 cups of beef broth or beef stock
1 cup of mirepoix [diced carrots, onions, celery and herbs sautéed in butter] (optional)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup shelled, roasted peanuts (or one-half cup peanut butter)
1 cup boiled chana dal (or any lentils or dried peas)
1 small leek, finely chopped
1 cup of Wumubu mushrooms (or any kind of mushrooms), (the original recipe says that Wumubu are "a type of black African mushroom")
2 tablespoons of butter
salt

black pepper (to taste)
½ cup cream

 

The original recipe also calls some good Madeira to be added along with the cream.


Wash the biltong or dried meat in hot water, and cut it into bite-sized pieces. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine the meat with enough cold water to cover it, and cook over a low heat for twenty to thirty minutes. Add the mirepoix and beef broth and simmer for two hours. Add the onions, peanuts, and dal (lentils), mushrooms, and leek. Cook until the dal are completely disintegrated. Adjust the seasoning. Add the butter and cream. Serve.

Serves 4.

 

area : Central Africa

course : soup

 

source : Recipe adapted from Exotische Gerichte: Rezepte aus der Orientalischen, Afrikanischen und Asiatischen Küche / Werner Fisher, at http://www.congocookbook.com/c0030.html