Elephant Soup Recipe - Beef and Peanut Soup with Mirepoix and Mushrooms

Elephant Soup

Elephant Soup Recipe - Beef and Peanut Soup with Mirepoix and Mushrooms
Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 2 hours and 30 minutes | Servings: 6


Elephant Soup
Elephant Soup

Elephant Soup is a hearty and flavorful dish that originated in South Africa. This unique soup is made with biltong, a type of dried or smoked beef jerky, along with a variety of other ingredients that come together to create a delicious and satisfying meal.


Elephant Soup has its roots in South African cuisine, where biltong is a popular ingredient in many dishes. The soup is believed to have been created as a way to make use of leftover biltong and other ingredients that were readily available in the region.


How to prepare

  1. Wash the biltong or dried meat in hot water, and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the meat with enough cold water to cover it, and cook over low heat for twenty to thirty minutes.
  3. Add the mirepoix and beef broth and simmer for two hours.
  4. Add the onions, peanuts, lentils, mushrooms, and leek. Cook until the lentils are completely disintegrated.
  5. Adjust the seasoning. Add the butter and cream. Serve. (The original recipe also suggests adding some good Madeira along with the cream)


  • Substitute the biltong with beef stew meat for a different flavor.
  • Add additional vegetables such as carrots or celery for extra nutrition.
  • Use different types of mushrooms for a unique twist on the recipe.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to wash the biltong or dried meat before using it in the soup to remove any excess salt.

- Adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences, adding more or less black pepper as desired.

- For a richer flavor, consider adding a splash of Madeira along with the cream at the end of cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Elephant Soup with crusty bread or rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

Cooking Techniques

Simmer the soup over low heat to allow the flavors to meld together.

- Stir the soup occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use beef broth or vegetable broth instead of beef stock.

- Swap out the peanuts for cashews or almonds for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

Elephant Soup can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish Elephant Soup with a sprinkle of fresh herbs such as parsley or chives for a pop of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

Serve Elephant Soup with a crisp green salad or a side of roasted vegetables for a well-rounded meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Elephant Soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Elephant Soup contains approximately 350 calories.


The carbohydrates in Elephant Soup primarily come from the lentils and vegetables used in the recipe. Each serving contains approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates.


The fats in Elephant Soup come from the biltong, butter, and cream. Each serving contains approximately 15 grams of fat.


The protein in Elephant Soup comes from the biltong, peanuts, and lentils. Each serving contains approximately 20 grams of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Elephant Soup is a good source of iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A. The lentils provide iron, while the vegetables contribute vitamin C and vitamin A.


This recipe contains peanuts and dairy (butter and cream), which may be allergens for some individuals.


Overall, Elephant Soup is a nutritious and balanced meal that provides a good mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.


Elephant Soup is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for a cozy night in. With its rich flavors and nutritious ingredients, this soup is sure to become a new favorite in your recipe repertoire. Enjoy!

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was hooked. It was a rainy day in the small village where I grew up, and I sought shelter in the local library. As I perused the shelves, a worn, leather-bound cookbook caught my eye. Curious, I opened it to find a recipe for Elephant Soup.

Now, I must clarify - the name of the soup is simply a whimsical title. There are no actual elephants harmed in the making of this dish. Instead, it is a hearty, comforting stew made with a medley of vegetables, tender pieces of beef, and a rich, flavorful broth.

As I read through the recipe, I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement. I had always loved cooking, and the idea of creating something as unique and delicious as Elephant Soup filled me with a sense of joy. I quickly copied down the ingredients and instructions, eager to try it out in my own kitchen.

I gathered the necessary ingredients from the local market - carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, beef, and a few secret spices that the recipe called for. I spent the afternoon chopping and sautéing, letting the savory aromas fill my cozy kitchen. As the soup simmered on the stove, I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride. This was my creation, my own twist on a classic recipe.

When the soup was finally ready, I ladled it into bowls and called my family to the table. As they took their first bites, their eyes lit up with delight. The flavors were rich and satisfying, the vegetables tender and perfectly cooked. My husband declared it the best soup he had ever tasted, and my children eagerly asked for seconds.

From that day on, Elephant Soup became a staple in our household. I would make it on cold winter nights, when the wind howled outside and the fire crackled in the hearth. It became a symbol of warmth and comfort, a dish that brought us together as a family.

Over the years, I shared the recipe with friends and neighbors, who all raved about its deliciousness. They would often ask me where I had learned to make such a wonderful soup, and I would simply smile and say that it was a secret family recipe passed down through generations.

But the truth was, I had stumbled upon it by chance, in that old cookbook in the library. And yet, it felt as though I had discovered a hidden treasure, a culinary gem that would bring joy to all who tasted it.

As I sit here now, reflecting on that rainy day so many years ago, I am grateful for the serendipitous moment that led me to Elephant Soup. It has brought me so much joy and fulfillment, allowing me to share my love of cooking with those I hold dear.

And so, I continue to make Elephant Soup, each batch a little different from the last, as I experiment with new ingredients and techniques. But no matter how it evolves, one thing remains constant - the love and care that goes into each and every pot. For me, cooking is not just about creating delicious meals, but about creating memories that will last a lifetime. And Elephant Soup will always hold a special place in my heart as a reminder of that.


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