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Soup and Stew Thickeners

Is it soup or chowder or bisque or ...?


A thick mushroom soup
Johner Images/Getty Images
Whether you are experiencing warm weather or cold weather right now, there is a soup just perfect for your climate. A steaming bowl of hearty soup can warm you to your toes in winter, while a bowl of classic chilled gazpacho or a fruit soup is perfect for those hot summer days. The spotlighted soup and stew recipes can serve as appetizers, main dishes and even desserts.

Soup and Stew Definitions

It may seem rather silly to define soup, since it is so elementary. However, do you know what gazpacho, bouillabaisse or bisque are? What is the difference between a soup and a stew or consommé and bouillon? Take a look at this soup glossary of some common and not-so-common variations on the soup theme. Click on the highlighted links to find a corresponding recipe example for each definition.

Soup Thickeners

• The best method to thicken most soups and stews is to remove some of the cooked vegetables, puree in a blender, and return the pureed mixture to the pot.

• If you are short on veggies or there are none in your soup, make a paste of flour mixed with twice as much cold stock, milk or water. Add the paste and stir slowly at a simmer for about 5-10 minutes. The ratio is 1-1/2 teaspoons of flour to 1 cup of soup.

• A roux of butter and flour can also be used as a thickener. The longer the roux is cooked, the darker and more flavorful it becomes.

• Cream is another alternative to not only thicken soup, but to also add a luxurious richness.

• A cornstarch slurry of 1 part cornstarch to 2 parts liquid will also thicken, but should not be boiled because it will break down.

• Learn more about thickeners in the article on Making Perfect Gravy.

More about Soups and Stews:

Soup and Stew Cooking Tips
Soup Thickeners
Soup Glossary Definitions and Recipes
Soup and Stew Recipes
Soup / Stew Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.


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