Difference between soup and chowder

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So, what’s the difference is between soup and chowder? Many people want to know.

A soup is typically made with stock or broth and can include vegetables, meat, or fish as ingredients. It is not usually very thick. A chowder has the same ingredients as a stew but is more chunky, creamy, and thick.

Difference between soup and chowder can be confusing

difference between soup and chowder - bowl of soup

A chowder is a rich, hearty soup made with seafood or chicken that begins with a base of salt pork or bacon and a variety of vegetables such as onions, celery, and potatoes. Most chowders are creamy, but one, in particular, has a tomato base: Manhattan clam chowder.

The most basic type of soup is clear soup or consomme, but there are several other types of soup that you may be familiar with:

  1. Broths.
  2. Puree.
  3. Cream soups.
  4. Bisque.
  5. Cold soups.

Origins of Chowder

The word chowder is of the French chaudière (“cauldron”), and chowder may have originated among Breton fishermen who brought the custom to Newfoundland, whence it spread to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and New England.

Fish or shellfish, salt pork, onions, potatoes, and milk are common ingredients in traditional New England-style chowder. Tomatoes replace the milk in Manhattan-style chowder.

Chowders were more varied in the eighteenth century; meat or poultry chowders were made, and wine, spices, herbs, cider, and other flavorings were frequently added.

As a thickener pounded common crackers or ship biscuits were used. Fresh sweet corn (maize) often replaces clams in chowder in the Southern and Midwestern United States. Key West, Florida, is known for its conch chowder.

Origins of Soup

Soup cooking dates back to the invention of vessels to hold liquid; prior to the development of pots that could withstand direct heat from a fire, soups were cooked by dropping hot stones into the liquid.

Soup’s long cooking time allowed nourishment to be extracted from small amounts of fish and meat that would otherwise be too bony or tough to use.

Stock, or broth, is the base of many soups. It is a rich liquid made by boiling fish, meat, poultry, game, or vegetables. Clear broths can be topped with vegetables, pasta or rice, quenelles or dumplings, poached eggs, or other ingredients.

I hope you enjoyed, “The Difference Between Soup and Chowder”. Be sure to check out our Eastern Shore recipes.