Soup Vs. Stew

I may pretend to know what I’m talking about in the kitchen most of the time, but I didn’t go to cooking school and I still have lots of questions. One of the things that I’ve been pondering lately is the naming of recipes; in particular, I’ve wondered how cookbook writers know how to draw the line between a soup and a stew and of course that leads to wonder what exactly makes a chowder a chowder or a bouillabaisse a bouillabaisse.

Since I figure I’m not the only one wondering, I thought I’d share some definitions I found.

a thick, rich soup usually consisting of pureed seafood and cream. Newer recipes may use poultry or vegetables in place of seafood.
a French seafood stew made of fish, shellfish, onions, tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, garlic, saffron and herbs.
a broth made from cooking vegetables, poultry, meat or fish in water.
a thick, chunky seafood or other rich soup containing chunks of food.
clarified meat or fish broth
an uncooked soup made of a pureed mixture of fresh tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, onions, celery, cucumber, bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and sometimes lemon juice which is served cold; also served chunky-style. You may also see this spelled “gaspacho.”
asically any combination of vegetables, fruit, meat, and/or fish cooked in a liquid.
a dish containing meat, vegetables and a thick soup-like broth made from a combination of the stewing liquid and the natural juices of the food being stewed.
strained liquid that is the result of cooking vegetables, meat or fish and other seasonings in water.

For more, visit’s Soup/Stew Glossary.

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2 Comments so far »


    sherry said

    February 8 2006 @ 1:55 pm

    Love your website…thanks for all the great recipes


    Katie said

    August 13 2007 @ 5:41 pm

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that a true bisque MUST require the shells of something (this is why 99% of genuine bisques are made from shellfish!)

    This is why you cannot have a tomato “bisque.”

    Also, chowders are traditionally known to have both potatoes and some sort of pork product (commonly bacon.)

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