Stews and soups are two classic comfort foods that have been enjoyed by people all over the world for centuries. Both dishes are versatile, warming, and satisfying, making them perfect for cold winter nights or rainy days. But what exactly is the difference between stew and soup? And how can you make the perfect pot of each?
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about stew and soup, from their origins and cultural significance to their basic differences in preparation and ingredients. We will also delve into the various types of stews and soups found in different cuisines, as well as some tips and tricks for creating delicious versions at home.
Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just looking to expand your culinary knowledge, understanding the ins and outs of stew and soup will undoubtedly elevate your cooking skills and impress your friends and family. So get ready to dive into the world of hearty, comforting stews and soups!
Difference between Stews and Soups
Stews and soups are both comforting, hearty dishes that are perfect for warming up on a cold day, but there are some key differences between the two. The main distinction lies in the consistency and ingredients. Stews are thick and hearty, usually containing chunks of meat and vegetables that have been cooked low and slow in a flavorful broth. The long cooking process allows the flavours to meld together and creates a rich, hearty dish.
On the other hand, soups are lighter and more liquid in texture. Simmering vegetables, meat, or fish in a broth or stock typically make them. The result is a thinner, more brothy dish that often contains smaller, bite-sized pieces of ingredients. Another difference is the cooking time: stews often require a longer cooking time to soften the tougher cuts of meat and develop their flavours, while soups can be ready relatively quickly.
Stews are often served as a main course, while soups are more commonly served as a starter or light meal. Both stews and soups are versatile dishes that can be customised to suit individual tastes, making them a favourite in many cultures around the world.
Origins of Stews
People have known types of food since ancient times, and the oldest known evidence of cooking stews in the world dates back to the Jomon period between the eighth and fourth centuries BCE in Japan, where the Greek historian Herodotus mentioned that the Scythians used to put pieces of bull meat or another animal inside a bag.
Recipes for cooking lamb and making fish stews were also found in the Roman cookbook Apicius, which is believed to date back to the fourth century CE. The Butcher, one of the oldest French cookbooks, written by the French chef known as Taifan in the early fourteenth century, also contained different types.
Types of Stews
White stew: It is made from lamb or veal that is boiled briefly, then cooled quickly, and then cooked with broth.
Brown stew: It is made from red meat that is cooked over the fire, then flour and some wine are added to it, then cooked with broth.
A meal of vegetable stew with meat (approximately 300 grams) contains the following nutritional information:
Stews around the World
Stews are a popular and versatile dish enjoyed in many cultures around the world. From the comforting Irish stew to the spicy Moroccan tagine, there are countless variations of stew dishes that showcase the unique flavours and ingredients of different regions. In Spain, there’s the hearty and flavorful cocido, made with chickpeas, meats, and vegetables, while in Korea, there’s the fiery and savoury kimchi jjigae, featuring fermented cabbage and pork. In the Caribbean, there’s the rich and aromatic oxtail stew, and in Hungary, there’s the famous goulash, a hearty beef stew seasoned with paprika and other spices.
Each of these stews reflects the local culinary traditions and ingredients, and they are often a source of pride for the communities that have perfected their versions of these comforting dishes. Whether it’s being simmered in a clay pot over an open fire or slow-cooked in a modern kitchen, stews continue to be a beloved and enduring part of the global food landscape.
Great Stew Recipes
Stews are usually cooked at relatively low temperatures and should take enough time to simmer for the flavours of the mixture to blend well. Here are some of the unique stew recipes especially for you:
Vegetable Stew with Meat
1 lb stew meat (beef, chicken, or turkey)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable or beef broth
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the stew meat and brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, add the diced onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the diced carrots, celery, bell pepper, and zucchini to the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the diced tomatoes and vegetable or beef broth. Add the dried thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Return the browned stew meat to the pot. Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 1-2 hours until the meat is tender.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve the vegetable stew with meat hot, garnished with fresh parsley if desired. Enjoy!
Pea and Carrot Stew
The preparation time for this recipe is 15 minutes, enough for four people.
Two cups of fresh or frozen green peas.
Three medium-sized carrots, washed and cut.
One finely chopped onion.
Four crushed garlic cloves.
Two finely chopped tomatoes.
Fresh lemon juice.
A spoon of olive oil.
A cup and a half of fresh tomato juice.
Two tablespoons of tomato paste.
Half a kilogram of meat.
Salt to taste.
Black pepper to taste.
How to prepare
Put olive oil in a pot on the stove with the chopped onions and carrots, and stir until the onions and carrots wilt and change colour.
Add salt, pepper, and meat, stir all the ingredients, then add the peas, garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato paste, and stir the ingredients together.
Add water and lemon juice to the ingredients.
Leave the ingredients on medium heat for a third of an hour, and the pea and carrot stew is ready.
Serve it with white rice.
Origins of Soup
Soup has been known since ancient times, and excavations indicate that its history may date back to about 20,000 years BCE. It was prepared in containers made of animal skins or tree bark or in braided baskets of reeds to prevent water leakage before the invention of waterproof clay pots and cooked using hot rocks.
The first cookbook published in the United States of America by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742 contained an entire chapter of recipes for different types of soups taken from a housewife named Eliza Smith. The first American cookbook dedicated to recipes for different types of soups was published by Emma Ewing in 1882.
American cooking recipes were largely based on English recipes until immigrants from various European countries arrived and brought with them the national cooking recipes in their countries, which included different types of soup, to the new society. For example, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for making potato soup. French immigrant Jean-Baptiste Gilbert was also known as the Prince of Soups after he opened a Boston restaurant serving French soups in 1794.
Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula knew a type of food called Tharid, which was prepared by dipping crumbled bread and meat from goat and sheep meat in broth. Tharid is now made in the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Gulf countries from the same ingredients in addition to vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers.
Dried soup appeared for the first time in the eighteenth century. It was made by boiling seasoned meat in water until the water turned into a slightly thick, fatty liquid containing the essence and fats that taste like the meat. Then, the liquid was cooled and dried so that it was suitable for storage for longer periods.
Since the nineteenth century, dried soup has become a popular commodity in stores and markets due to the development of the canning and packaging industries. Campbell’s canned tomato soup, which debuted in 1897, and mushroom and chicken noodle soups, which debuted in 1934, are among the most popular types of canned soup in the United States, with Americans consuming about 2.5 billion bowls of the three canned soups alone every year.
Popular Types of Soups
Soups are considered one of the best dishes that a person can serve on his table, especially on cold days, as they give the human body energy and warmth. No matter how different the types of soups are, it is necessary that they be easy to prepare, quick to prepare, and delicious. Preparing soup does not have to require high skills or complex techniques,
There are many types of soups, each of which has something that distinguishes it from the other, whether in the way it is prepared or its ingredients. Below is a presentation of the main types of soups.
Clear soups: These are classic types of soups, and they involve cooking the flavouring ingredients of the soup in a liquid over heat for a certain period of time.
Thick soup: Its density is increased either by adding materials to help with this or by evaporating the liquid. Some types of thick soup contain cream, which gives the soup a distinctive texture.
Puree soup: This type of soup is characterised by its delicious taste and is rich in flavour. Puree soup is considered a healthy food, as it is rich in vitamins and nutrients. The best way to prepare this soup is to cook starchy vegetables and legumes in broth or clear soup, then puree the resulting soup with its components.
Here are some of the most popular types of soups all over the world:
Types of Soups Around the World
Soup is served in many countries, as in French cuisine, for example, at the beginning of meals before other dishes as an appetiser.
Types of soup vary; some are served hot, some are best eaten cold, and some have a sweet taste, such as the types of tong sui soup in China. The most popular types of Asian soup are:
Shiroko soup: It is a Japanese soup made from azuki beans.
Qi soup: This is a soup of Vietnamese origin that is served as a dessert and is made from sugar and coconut milk, with many additional ingredients, including taro, cassava, adzuki beans, mung beans, jackfruit, and durian.
Jintan soup: It is a soup of Filipino origin that is made from coconut milk with fruits. It can be eaten hot or cold as desired.
Great Soup Recipes
Here are some of the unique soup recipes especially for you:
Grits Soup with Meat
The preparation time is five minutes, and the cooking time is thirty minutes; this recipe is enough for four people.
Heat the oil and meat in a pan over low heat and stir until the water of the meat dries.
Add onions and garlic and stir until the onions turn golden.
Add salt, cinnamon, coriander, tomatoes, pepper, and tomato paste and stir for several minutes.
Place the grits in a strainer and a bowl, immerse it in water and leave it to settle the impurities, then gently lift the strainer out of the water to filter the grits and repeat the step several times.
Add the grits to the meat mixture and stir for two to three minutes so that the grits absorb the flavour of the spices and the meat.
Add the broth and leave the pot to boil for ten minutes over a strong fire, then reduce the heat and leave the pot for twenty to thirty minutes until the meat is cooked.
When serving the soup, the dishes are decorated by sprinkling a little chopped coriander and adding lemon.
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown and tender.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil until they are soft and translucent.
Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot along with the vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth.
Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the soup hot, and top with crispy bacon, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped chives if desired.
Spinach and Barley Soup
Preparation time is 15 minutes; this recipe is enough for six people
A large handful of washed and cooked barley.
A package of spinach.
Two cans of tomatoes cut into cubes.
Three cans of chicken broth.
A tablespoon of crushed garlic.
Half a cup of onions cut into cubes.
A pinch of salt and black pepper.
A tablespoon of olive oil.
How to prepare
Heat the olive oil in a pan.
Add onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onions are browned.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes and spinach to the pot.
Heat the mixture until the spinach dissolves.
Add barley, salt and pepper.
Boil the soup and serve it hot.
In conclusion, stews and soups are versatile and comforting dishes that can be enjoyed year-round. From hearty and warming stews to light and brothy soups, there is a wide variety of options to suit every taste and dietary preference. Whether you prefer traditional recipes or inventive combinations of flavours and ingredients, stews and soups are a great way to bring people together and provide nourishing and delicious meals. So, next time you’re in the mood for a comforting meal, consider whipping up a batch of your favourite stew or soup and savouring the comforting flavours and aromas.