Soups and stews are nutritious, economical and oh-so-good. Here's everything you ever wanted to know.
Soups and Stews - Food Network Canada
Soups and Stews
By Chantel Simmons
Soup is the ultimate comfort food and a classic dish. From creamy to chilled and hearty to broth-based, soups are the perfect recipes for a classic appetizer or a satisfying main course.
The History of Soup
The act of combining various ingredients in a pot to create a nutritious meal dates back to the beginning of cooking. Simple to make and easy to digest, soups have always been a popular choice for both sedentary and traveling cultures–rich, poor, healthy or sick.
The word “soup” comes from the etymology of “soaking” and in the beginning, soup was poured over bread, making it a balanced meal of protein, good carbs and healthy fat. Soups were first served in restaurants in 18th century Paris, while canned and dried soup mixes became available for purchase in the 19th century, and were a popular supply for those at war and at home alike.
Soups can be served hot or cold and can be broth-based or cream-based, chunky or smooth. Here are a few of the more popular types:
Bisque: Traditionally a thick, rich soup containing pureed seafood and cream. Newer versions contain vegetables, such as squash or tomato.
Borscht: A traditional Russian or Polish soup made with fresh beets, veggies with a dollop of sour cream. It can be served hot or cold.
Chowder: A thick, creamy soup, typically made with large pieces of seafood, but can also be corn-, chicken- or salmon-based.
Gazpacho: An uncooked, cold soup, usually made of pureed tomatoes, cucumber or strawberries.
This thick, meat-based broth is typically filled with cubed pieces of meat, potatoes and vegetables and left to—you guessed it—stew on the stove for hours. Stewing is a process that brings out the flavours of the ingredients. Around the world, stew is known by different names and variations. Here are just a few:
Brown Stew: Made with red meat that has first been seared or browned, then added to the pot of stock or red wine. White stew: Also known as blanquettes or fricassees. White stews are often made with lamp or veal that’s been blanched, and then cooked in stock.
Mulligan Stew: typically made from leftovers or any ingredients on hand.
Irish Stew: Made with lamb or mutton chops, including vegetables and some spice.
Pepper Pot: Similar to a traditional stew, but containing tripe instead of meat.
Bouillabaisse: a traditional Provençe stew consisting of shellfish, fish, tomatoes, white wine and herbs.
Ratatouille: Also Provençal, this dish is tomato-based and filled with vegetables (but no meat).
Ragout: Like a Bouillabaisse, but with meat instead of fish and vegetables, and is often heavily spiced and seasoned.
Goulash: A Hungarian stew, made with beef, red peppers, onions and paprika.
Curry: A traditional Indian or Southeast Asian dish, often using spices from coriander to curry, and is served with bread for dipping.
Chili: A rich tomato-based stew that contains ground beef or turkey, beans and vegetables. Cassoulet: A French bean stew, similar to chili.
Tips and Tricks
* Store any leftover vegetables (including potato and carrot peels, celery leaves and broccoli stocks) in your freezer until you’re ready to make soup. Then, add them to your soup stock—the flavours will infuse into the broth.a
* Save the hard rinds on cheese (think Parmigiano, Grana Padano or Gruyere), then add to soup for flavour.
* To give vegetables more distinct flavours, sauté them in butter before adding them to the broth.
* Burnt soup? Camouflage the taste by pouring the soup or stew into a clean pot, then flavouring it with curry or mustard powder.
* To thicken soup, add instant mashed potato or meat gravy and stir.
* To make a soup super-creamy, pour it into a blender for a few minutes, then through a sieve.
* To save time, throw stew ingredients into a slow-cooker overnight.
• To remove excess fat from soup, float a large lettuce leaf on the surface while cooking, or drop ice cubes into the pot. As you stir, the fat will cling to the cubes, which you can then discard before they’re melted.
• To remove salt from soup (and keep the cholesterol levels down!), place a raw potato in the finished soup, to absorb the salt.
• To add protein to soup, add chicken and red meat or grated cheese on top, or for a lower fat option, try lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.
Although soup can be a wholesome meal, canned and dried soups may be high in carbohydrates, fat and sodium (salt). Look for soups that contain less than three grams of fat and 500 milligrams of sodium per cup. To make them healthier, choose “healthy”-versions of the brand, but beware of low-fat versions, which can pack up to 1,300 milligrams of sodium per cup. Instead, use the canned soup as a starter, then add extra vegetables, beans, rice, or noodles helps to reduce the sodium levels per serving.
From cold soup to chunky stew, get inspired with these recipes.
Ideal for a cold winter’s night, these soups are tasty and toasty:
Roasted Tomato Soup
Pumpkin soup with Pumpkin Seeds, Rye Croutons and a Lightly Whipped
Curried Cauliflower Soup with Red Pepper Puree
Corn Chowder with Chipotles
Perfect for a hot summer day, these soups are refreshing and resplendent:
Melon soup with Ginger Cucumber Salsa
Cool Minted Onion Soup
Gazpacho Served in Bell Peppers
Chilled Pea and Mint Soup with Lobster
Hearty and healthy, these stews are substantial (and most can be made in a slow-cooker to time-save!):
Hurried Goulash with Egg Noodles and Peas
Bouillabaisse with Sauce Rouille
Turkey, Sweet Potato and Bean Chili
Ratatouille with Toasted Chickpeas
For a hearty meal, try these protein-rich options:
Chili con Carne
Vegetable Power Protein Soup
Mushroom Barley Soup
Irish Lamb Stew
For a party or a kid-friendly meal, try these whimsical soups:
Connect the Dots Soup: Bacon bits, cheddar cheese and fish-shaped crackers are a crowd-pleaser
Chocolate Soup: What kid would turn down a soup that’s really dessert?
Easy Alphabet Soup: Just make sure you have the right letters for everyone!
Slow Cooker Hamburger Soup: With buns and corn on the cob as a side, it’s a summer meal you can make all winter-long!