Soup and Stew: What’s the Difference?

When we’re huddled up all winter long, we have big questions floating through our heads as we sit by the fire drinking hot chocolate. Questions like, is there a difference between soup and stew? In this post, we tackle that question and share a few of our favorite soup/stew recipes.

Let’s start off by saying most people have their own definitions and call their own recipes of soups and stews whatever they like, and that’s totally fine. #youdoyou. So if you read this and find out that Grandma’s famous stew should actually be called a soup, have no fear, everyone’s definitions are different. And that’s ok! … But here’s what we’ve learned:

Stews

The name for stews came from the cooking method for stewing. Stewing is similar to braising in that it is a way to cook meats or vegetables in a liquid. Braising means the item you are cooking is partially submerged in water and stewing means the vegetable, fish or meat is totally covered with water. Recipes that cook its ingredients in lots of water, over low heat for long periods of time are often called stews, because you are literally stewing. Because of this cooking method, we often think of stews as having gravy-like, rich broths with chunks of meats, vegetables and maybe even a grain floating in it. But this leaves us wondering, if you blend a vegetarian stew after it has cooked does that make it a soup?

Soup

The dictionary simply lists soup as a liquid dish with a base of broth or water. In relation to stews, a soup doesn’t have to be made in the stewing method. It could be roasted vegetables blended with broth and reheated and seasoned. What we are finding is that soups tend to have a higher liquid to solids ratio that stews.

We’re starting to think that all stews are soups, but not all soups are stews. We’re also thinking it maybe doesn’t matter, as long as it’s warm and delicious. What are your soup and stew definitions?

Here are a few of our favorite recipes:

Chicken and Brisket Brunswick Stew
Click here for the recipe.

Tuscan-Style Bean Stew with Sea Bass
Click here for the recipe.

Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Soup
Click here for the recipe.

Orzo Chicken Soup
Click here for the recipe.

Creamy Tomato Soup and Bacon-Gouda Croutons
Click here for the recipe.

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