December 12, 2022

Recipe: Rubaboo (Pemmican Soup)

As promised at the end of my Pemmican blog post, here's my first cooking experiment with my pemmican. This is rubaboo or pemmican soup. The recipe is based on a description in the book Forty Years in Canada by Col. Samuel B. Steele. It was published in the early 1900s, and of pemmican, he says,

"It was cooked in two ways in the west; one a stew of pemmican, water, flour and, if they could be secured, wild onions or preserved potatoes. This was called 'rubaboo.'"

That's not exactly a recipe, but it's description enough for a plain cook to figure out that it's made with a few basic ingredients plus whatever is at hand. I started mine with pemmican, potato, turnips, carrot, and onions.

Not pictured: flour and salt.

As a one-pot meal, it's easy to make; just simmer until the veggies are tender. Toward the end I took the notion to add some chopped fresh kale leaves too.

A more authentic meal would likely serve it with hardtack, but alas, hardtack is something I haven't tried my hand at making yet (but it's on the list). I served it for lunch with the closest modern equivalent - plain saltines.

What did we think? We liked it! Obviously, it's a very versatile recipe with endless possibilities. I think too, that this is the more prudent use of our pemmican, which is very dense in protein and calories. Rubaboo stretches out a small amount for many meals. Since pemmican is shelf-stable, it's an excellent way to preserve and store meat for hard times situations.


Rosalea said...

Simple, good food is right up my alley! How much meat flavour comes through? The fabled Sam Steele of the NW mounted police?

Ed said...

It seems as if the pemmican in this case is just a hardier version of beef bouillon cubes.

Mama Pea said...

The addition of all those good home grown veggies have got to do a lot to make your (oh-so-versatile) pemmican soup nutritious and delicious! What a fine pot of soup for a winter's day.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, the amount of meat flavor is up to the cook! Add more and it will taste more like it. Use less and it will be a subtle background flavor.

Yes, that's the Sam Steele! The subtitle of the book is "Reminiscences Of The Great North-West With Some Account Of His Service In South Africa By Colonel S. B. Steele, C.B., M.V.O., Late Of The N.W.M. Police And The S. African Constabulary." It's a fantastic record of the times.

Ed, yes, something like. But without the salt (and preservatives! lol). The soup itself has the flavor, but not the texture of adding meat.

Mama Pea, I agree!

I'm not much of a meat eater, but every time I serve soup (an almost daily winter lunch) Dan wants to know what meat is IN IT. Now, I can just add a little and say, "it's pemmican!"

DFW said...

It sounds delicious. Sure wish my husband liked that kind of soup. He gravitates towards cream based instead of broth.

Leigh said...

Deb, you could definitely make it with a cream base! Just make your roux first, then add the the pemmican and other ingredients. Or add more flour and milk or cream to make the broth as creamy as you want it.

Billybob said...

It would be great in Stone Soup.
( love that book).

Leigh said...

Billybob, it would! I loved that book too. :)

Goatldi said...

The list is endless!
So many possible choices in so many fashions. Thank you for the inspiration and endless possibilities!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, that is a great way to extend the pemmican.

Regarding books without real "instructions": I have a book on Scottish Highland Recipes. I have cooked very few things out of it, but it is very much the sort of thing that has "general" instructions - interesting to me because it incorporates a lot of fish, wild game, and commonly available items in the Highlands (and therefore by default, not the sorts of things that are only found in stores).

Leigh said...

Goatldi, I know! Isn't it great? Very customizable, which is perfect for my style of cooking!

TB, it seems a lot of old cookbooks and recipes were similar. It's understood that the cook knew the basics, ingredients, techniques, and terminology. Different from modern recipes.

Your recipe book sounds really interesting. I love the old cookbooks that don't rely on modern ingredients. More to the heart of the way I love and eat.