Venison bapa wohanpi soup is a rich stew made from all-dried ingredients that makes for a delicious, creative meal in the winter. It's inspired by a Lakota soup my friends Linda and Luke Black Elk shared with me.
After I cooked my venison trotters, the first thing I wanted to make was a traditional Lakota bison hoof soup, but, once I saw how much meat I got off the venison trotters, I switched gears and had to make a couple things instead of just one. Since the broth that came off the trotters was incredibly rich stuff, soup was in order, a special soup made of all dried ingredients, well, except the hoof stock.
When I was harvesting prairie turnips / timpsila this year with my friends Linda and Luke Black Elk near the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota, I had the pleasure of speaking with Luke's mother Candace about traditional ways to cook prairie turnips.
Besides simmering them with bison tripe (Taniga) bapa, or papa soup as it's also called, was one of the first things she mentioned. As I understand it, this particular soup version is bapa wohanpi, which translates to dried venison stew. Watch Luke and Linda make the real deal here.
A soup made from all dried ingredients
This is a very traditional soup, and the coolest part (besides using wild prairie turnips) is that it relies on dried ingredients, making it a perfect stew for winter. Accounts seem to vary a little bit depending on what you have and where you are, but the timpsila are omnipresent, as is dried meat, the bapa.
Other than that, most recipes I can find examples of also use dried corn (washtunkula) or hominy. I went with the latter since I'm addicted to dried hominy. Other dried ingredients you can see pictured here are dried kabocha squash, and leeks from the garden. Dried ramp leaves would be great too.
One thing to note here is that dried meat won't add much body or viscosity to a soup, so I really suggest using a good, strong stock, like the one I made with venison trotters. But, if you don't have stock, you can just cook the whole shebang to the next dimension (12 hours or so should do) until some of the dried ingredients break down and help thicken the broth.
This is really a soup that eats like a meal, and It's alot of fun to cook with your own using a blend of dried ingredients. There's all kinds of possibilities here, although the prairie turnips really make it.
Dried Venison Stew with Timpsila (Bapa Wohanpi)
- 1 crock pot or gallon size soup pot
Meat and stock
- 8 cups venison trotter bone broth
- 2 oz reserved cooked venison trotter meat and tissue, finely minced (optional)
- 4 oz dried venison / Bapa / Papa
- 1.5 oz Dried squash
- .5 oz dried onions leeks or ramp leaves, crumbled
- 4 oz dried hominy
- 3 oz dried timpsila about 22 small timpsila
- Kosher salt and pepper
Soak the hominy and timpsila
- Combine the hominy and timpsila in a bowl and cover with boiling water by ½ inch and leave overnight. The next day, cut the timpsila into ½ rounds or bite sized pieces. Reserve the hominy and timpsila in the water.
Soak the squash and dried meat
- Put the squash and dried meat in a bowl and add an inch of boiling water (you don’t need to cover them as they won’t take a lot to rehydrate.
- Cut the squash and dried venison into bite-sized pieces, then cut the timpsila into ½ inch slices.
- Put the timpsila and corn into a soup pot, along with the dried onions, add the venison trotter broth, along with the rehydrating liquids, bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and bake at 250 F for 3 hours, you can also simmer it covered on the lowest heat.
Add the meat and squash
- Next, add the dried meat and squash and cook for 30 minutes more along with the minced hoof fat and leg meat, cooking until the dried meat is tender and tastes good to you.
- Finally, add the chopped hoof fat and leg meat. Double check the seasoning for salt and pepper, adjust as needed, and serve.
- It’s great with a splash of lemon juice to lift it, as it’s a very rich soup.
Other versions of Wohanpi and Bapa Soup