Soups, Stews And Chowders!
I grew up in the Midwest and we had a lot of soups and stews…especially in the Winter.
Chowder was an occasional dish, because Mother liked to add catfish and this made it more of a bisque, than a chowder and our Father didn’t care for it much.
So, just what is the difference in these wonderful combinations of ingredients that just hit the spot on a cold winter day?
Soups are basically any type of vegetables, fruit. meat, chicken, or fish cooked in a liquid.
Stews are made up of vegetables, meat, and a thick soup-like broth made from a combination of the stewing liquid and the natural juices of the foods.
Chowders are a thick soup containing fish or shellfish, especially clams, and vegetables, such as potatoes and onions, in a milk or tomato base
I have been fixated on making soups, stews and chowders these last few days….actually, this past month!
I love the ease of making them.
I love being able to make enough to have the next day!
And on a cold blustery day…there is nothing better than eating a bowl of goodness along with a cup of hot tea or chocolate!
I guess that comes from the years of watching Campbell soup commercials and seeing the melting snowman saying Mmm Mmm Good! 😉
Below are a few tips I found on making soups, stews and chowders:
First off…we all know that savory soups and stews always taste better if made a day or two in advance and reheated just before serving.
If your hot soup ends up slightly salty, add a whole, peeled potato to the soup and simmer for about 15 minutes to absorb salt. Remove the potato and serve. (save the potato and add to breakfast potatoes)
To reduce the fat content, make the soup the day before, chill and scrape off the fat that rises to the top. If you don’t have time to chill the soup, use an unprinted paper towel to soak up oil from the top of the soup.
Wine is a great flavor addition to soups and stews. When using wine or alchohol in any soup, use less salt as the wine tends to intensify saltiness. (Wine should be added at a ratio of no more than 1/4 cup of wine to 1 quart of soup).
I also have a tip or trick that my grandmother taught me years and years ago that I have used over and over again.
When you make a pot roast with potatoes and carrots and onions…and you serve it with gravy, there are times when you will have left overs.
The next day, chop the leftover potatoes, carrots and onions. Also chop the remainder of the pot roast.
Put in a heavy pot and add the gravy to the veggies and pot roast.
You might have to add a little water to thin out the gravy, but it will not affect the taste and instantly…you have beef stew.
You can add a few spices or not….your choice. This is a wonderful way to make two meals out of one….and it is soooo good.
AND IF you still happen to have a bit of gravy and pot roast left after the second meal….you can make it a third meal by pouring the beef stew over bread and you have a semi hot beef sandwich!
Nothing goes to waste. 🙂
Below are three printable recipes to warm up your cold, cold Fall and Winter days. 😉
Here in Florida…our weather is cooler in the evenings and early mornings, but a wonderful 75 degrees during the day!
But I still like to make soups, stews and chowders!
Do you, my dear readers… like to make soups, stews and chowders?
Enjoy this Thursday and make it a good one for yourself!
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 can tomato soup (I used pregresso)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz. (about 16 pieces) cheese tortellini
- 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (I like to use the rotisserie chicken from the deli, saves time)
- 7 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped
- grated Pecorino or Romano cheese to top the soup when serving.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the onion, celery and carrot and saute for 2-3 minutes until the veggies are softened.
- Add garlic, salt, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, cooking and stirring for about another minute. (you don't want the garlic to burn)
- Increase heat to medium high and add tomatoes, tomato soup, and chicken broth.
- Bring to a slow rolling boil and then drop in the tortellini. Cook for about 9 minutes.
- Add the chicken and spinach.
- Cook for 3 more minutes until spinach is wilted and chicken is warmed through.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese on each bowl as desired
- You could substitute baby Kale or any other green veggie that you prefer.
- 2 pounds stew beef
- 2 tablespoons flour for dusting the chunks of meat
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large carrots, sliced in small chunks
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes cut in chunks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Using a heavy dutch oven or pot...toss the chunks of meat in the flour and brown the meat in the hot oil.
- Add the water gradually...to prevent hot spatters.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, and pepper
- Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove bay leaves and garlic cloves and add carrots, potatoes and celery.
- Cover and cook 30 minutes longer.
- To thicken gravy, mix 1/4 cup of water and cornstarch in a separate bowl until very smooth
- Mix with a little hot liquid from the dutch oven and stir until smooth.
- Return the thickening mixture to the pot.
- Stir and cook until bubbly.
- Serve with crusty bread and soft butter.....;)
- You can also buy a pot roast or chuck roast (on sale) and cut it in half to make your stew meat and you can use the other half for a pot roast meal. 🙂 Makes two meals and saves your beef budget.
- Some people prefer their beef stew without potatoes or celery...however, I like them added in.
- Your choice...anything is optional...it is your beef stew! 🙂
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped clams (fresh clams are the best, see note below)
- 16 ounces of clam juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 ounces cubed salt pork (in your supermarket meat case)
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon flour (or more, depending on how thick you want the chowder)
- 1 cup dry white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 pounds potatoes, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon of thyme (or 2 sprigs of fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 cup whipping cream
- Using a heavy pot, brown the salt pork in a bit of oil if needed.
- Add the chopped onion and cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
- Sprinkle flour over the onions allowing the flour to cook for a minute or two, stirring to keep the flour from burning.
- Slowly add the white wine to the pot, stirring after each addition.
- Add the diced potatoes and 2 to 3 cups of the clam juice (if using fresh clams, use the steaming liquid)
- Be sure the juice covers the potatoes, if not add a bit of clam juice or water.
- Drop in the bay leaf, thyme, black pepper, and Old Bay.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for at least 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender
- Meanwhile, heat a cup of cream in a small saucepan (or microwave) and add to the tender cooked potato mixture
- Add the chopped clams, stirring once or twice and remove from the heat.
- Slowly stir in the heated cream...and do a taste test, adding more seasoning if needed.
- Serve with oyster crackers or any cracker of your choice...I personally like the chowder without crackers, so I only use them for garnish. 😉
- If you have access to fresh clams, you would use about 4 lbs of littleneck or cherrystone clams (about 3 dozen clams or so, depending on the size)
- You can substitute bacon for the salt pork, but salt pork is traditional to New England Clam Chowder
- If you don't want to add wine, you can use 2 tablespoons of white or cider vinegar, or lemon juice