South African Recipes

South African Biltong Soup Recipe: History, Tips & More

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Hearty, comforting, and steeped in tradition, Biltong Soup is a robust dish that marries the beloved South African snack, biltong, with the universal comfort of a warm bowl of soup. It’s a dish that dances on the taste buds and fills the belly with warmth and happiness!

biltong soup

Biltong Soup Recipe

Gianpiero Rusconi
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine South African
Servings 4


  • Large Soup Pot
  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle


  • 200 g Biltong finely chopped
  • 1 Large Onion chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 2 Carrots diced
  • 2 Stalks Celery diced
  • 1 Litre Beef Stock
  • 2 Medium Potatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • In your large soup pot, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Now, let's add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot. Stir it around, and cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. You'll love the smell wafting through your kitchen!
  • Next, let's introduce the diced carrots and celery to the pot. Give it a good stir and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add the finely chopped biltong into the mix. We're just going to let it sizzle for a bit, stirring occasionally for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Time to make it soupy! Pour the beef stock into the pot. Let's also welcome the diced potatoes into the party. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. This gives time for all the flavours to really mingle and become best mates!
  • After simmering, check that the vegetables are tender and the flavours are to your liking. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, and there you have it! A hearty, comforting bowl of Biltong Soup that's sure to warm your belly and make your taste buds dance.

Biltong Soup History

The star ingredient in our dish, Biltong, has roots going back centuries in South Africa, developed by indigenous people and later refined by Dutch settlers. Biltong, from the Dutch “bil” meaning buttock and “tong” meaning strip or tongue, was traditionally air-dried and used as a source of sustenance during long treks.

Biltong Soup is a more recent addition to South African cuisine, transforming the meaty snack into a central part of a main meal. It brings together the rich, umami taste of Biltong with the nurturing comfort of a well-prepared soup. Its origins are less documented and exact beginnings are uncertain, perhaps beginning its life in the kitchen of an innovative cook looking to repurpose some leftover Biltong.

Tips & Tricks

Working with Biltong can be a bit challenging due to its firm texture. Using a sharp knife, slice it as thin as possible for best results. Also, while we’re going for hearty, we don’t want our soup to be overly heavy. To achieve this balance, simmer the soup long enough for the flavours to meld but not so long that the vegetables lose their bite. Lastly, a splash of vinegar or squeeze of lemon can elevate the soup, cutting through the richness and adding a touch of brightness.

Best Occassions to Serve Biltong Soup

While Biltong Soup can surely be enjoyed at any time, it shines as a winter dish when its hearty warmth is most appreciated. It’s perfect for family gatherings where its robust flavours can be enjoyed together. Plus, it’s a hit at sports viewing parties, with Biltong’s status as a favourite game-time snack!

Recipes & Sides That Go Well With Biltong Soup

Roosterkoek: A traditional grilled bread that’s perfect for soaking up the delicious soup.
Braai Salad: A refreshing salad that compliments the hearty soup.
Grilled Corn: Sweet and smokey corn adds a great contrast to the robust soup.
Mielie bread: South African corn bread is the perfect thing to accompany a biltong soup.
Potbrood: A South African braai classic, potbrood is a great bread to enjoy with this soup.
Dombolo: African steam bread provices a loft soft bread to mop up this hearty soup.

Ingredient Alternatives for Biltong Soup

Game Biltong: For a wild twist, use game Biltong, like kudu or springbok.
Chicken Stock: To lighten the dish, chicken stock can be used in place of beef stock.
Sweet Potatoes: To add a sweet contrast, sweet potatoes can replace regular potatoes.

Nutritional Facts

This Biltong Soup recipe serves four and contains:

Calories: Around 220 kcal
Carbohydrates: Approximately 20g
Sugar: Roughly 4g
Fat: About 9g
Protein: Around 16g
Fibre: Approximately 3g
Although rich in flavours, Biltong Soup is balanced in nutrition. It provides a good amount of protein, some fibre, and is not excessive in calories.

Troubleshooting (Common Problems)

Too Salty: Biltong can be quite salty. Balance it with more stock or water.
Biltong Too Chewy: Slice the Biltong thinner next time or allow it to simmer a bit longer.
Lacks Depth of Flavour:** Add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to brighten up the flavours.

Biltong Soup Alternatives and Similar Recipes

Boerewors Soup: A hearty soup that swaps Biltong with Boerewors, a traditional South African sausage.
Biltong and Butternut Soup: Combines the robust flavour of Biltong with the sweetness of butternut squash.
Chicken Biltong Soup: A lighter variant using chicken Biltong and chicken stock.

Each of these recipes offers a unique twist on the classic Biltong Soup, providing equally comforting and delicious results! Whether you fancy a meaty change with Boerewors, a sweeter note with butternut squash, or a lighter touch with chicken, there’s a variant that will tickle your tastebuds just right!

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