Soups and Stews

Course | Soups and Stews

Nothing warms the soul like a hot bowl of soup or a comforting stew, slow-simmered on the stove. Soups and stews can be among the simplest of creations, but their often complex flavor can belie the ease of their creation. Every pot is endlessly customizable — substitute an ingredient here, subtract one there, add a new one this time — so each pot takes on its maker's personality.

Image © by iStockphoto

Most soups and stews benefit from a slow simmer and gain in flavor if made a day ahead, which makes this cooking method a favorite of the Slow Food movement.

Soup and Stew Recipes


Soups | Ärtsoppa

(Swedish yellow pea soup)

Ärtsoppa (AIRT-soh-puh) is a thick yellow pea soup traditionally served on Thursday evenings in Sweden, along with ham or sausages and pancakes with jam. A similar soup made with green split peas and called hernekeitto is eaten in Finland. Read more »

Ash-e Jow

Ingredients | Barley

(Persian barley bean soup)

This thick soup, or ash, is chock full of nutrients and fiber. A mix of beans, lentils, barley and vegetables, ash-e jow is slow-simmered to make a rich, nourishing, rib-sticking dish. Eliminate the meat and use vegetable stock or water for a great vegetarian meal. Read more »

Asopao de Gandules

Ingredients | Beans, Pigeon Peas Image

(Puerto Rican rice and pigeon pea stew)

Asopao is a Puerto Rican word for a stew thickened with rice, and asopaos of many kinds are very popular in Puerto Rican cuisine. Asopao de gandules is a nice vegetarian version. Read more »

Beef and Okra

Ingredients | Okra Image

(Jamaican beef and okra stew)

This recipe makes a simple meat and vegetable stew with tons of flavor. It's a typically Caribbean concoction using that favorite vegetable import from Africa — okra. Try using goat instead of beef if you can find it. Read more »


Meats | Bigos

(Polish hunter's stew of meat, cabbage and sauerkraut)

The national dish of Poland, bigos is an amazing melange of meats and sausages slowly braised over a bed of mellow sauerkraut. Bigos is a popular cold-weather dish in Poland where it provided a handy way of using up cabbage that was put up before winter set in. Bigos is a favorite meal for the day after Christmas and is also popular in Lithuania and Belarus. Read more »


Soups | Bogracsgulyas Image

(Hungarian beef and pepper stew)

Bográcsgulyás (boh-GRACH goo-YAHSH), or goulash, is one of the classics of Hungarian cuisine. Variations of this basic dish are popular throughout Central Europe. Bogrács is Hungarian for "kettle", and gulyás was originally the word for "cowboy." Today goulash refers to both the herdsmen and the stew they first cooked in their kettles. Read more »


Soups | Borshch Image

(Ukrainian Russian beet soup)

Borshch (борщ) is one of the classic soups of the Russian household. Ukrainians, however, swear that it was invented by them. Regardless, there are countless variations throughout the Slavic region of Europe, both with meat and without. Most, but not all, have a base of beets. Read more »


Soups | Bouillabaisse Image

(French Provençal seafood stew)

Bouillabaisse is one of the great dishes of French Provençal cuisine. The recipe looks intimidating, doesn't it? Well it shouldn't. Making it is actually fairly simple. The key is using top-notch ingredients. Read more »


Soup | Bredie

(South African lamb stew)

Bredies are simple, traditional South African mutton stews in the Cape Malay tradition. The most popular are green bean bredie, tomato bredie and cabbage bredie. A basic bredie recipe is listed here, with the more common variations below. (Tip: A bredie will always taste better served the day after it is made.) Read more »


Soups | Caldereta Image

(Filipino beef stew)

Caldereta is a comforting beef stew popular in the Philippines. Every family has its own version. Experiment with the ingredients and try different vegetables. Read more »

Caldillo de Congrío

Fish | Caldillo de Congrio

(Chilean seafood stew)

Chile's long Pacific coast makes it a a veritable paradise for culinary fans of fruits of the sea. Chileans use their ocean bounty in countless ways. A favorite is caldillo de congrío, a simple fisherman's stew made with red conger eel, known as congrío colorado. Congrio can be difficult to find outside Chile, but you can substitute any good white-fleshed fish to similarly delectable results. Read more »

Caldo Verde

Soups | Caldo Verde

(Portuguese potato and kale soup)

This nourishing and nutritious soup is one of the signature dishes of Portuguese cuisine. Tinted a subtle green by finely shredded kale or collard greens, and thickened with potatoes, caldo verde is often served with spicy chouriço sausage and a slice of the thick cornmeal bread called broa. Read more »


Soups | Carapulcra

(Peruvian pork and freeze-dried potato stew)

Modern Peruvian cuisine has several dishes with ancient roots in Incan culture, and carapulcra is one of them. Carapulcra is a thick stew made with meat and the freeze-dried potatoes called chuño, or papa seca. Read more »

Chicken Stock

Soups | Chicken Stock Image

(How to make chicken stock, with variations)

Chicken stock, or chicken broth, is a basic of the kitchen in many cuisines. The recipe here is for a basic European-style chicken stock. See the variations for different versions from around the world. Read more »

Chili con Carne

Ingredients | Peppers, Chile, Dried Image

(American Tex-Mex spicy beef stew)

It's a little unclear where chili originated. The combination of powdered chiles and meat is likely an ancient one, familiar to the Aztecs and the Maya. But in its current form, chili seems to have started somewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexicans generally shun it as American. Most Americans are fine with that and regard it as their own. Read more »

Chupe de Camarones

Soups | Chupe de Camarones

(Peruvian shrimp chowder)

Chupes are hearty chowders popular along South America's Pacific coast from Chile to Peru. Chupe de camarones is a Peruvian classic made with shrimp and vegetables and is substantial enough to make a full meal. Read more »


Fish | Cioppino

(American fish and seafood stew)

This tomatoey fish stew is perhaps the iconic San Francisco dish. Italian fishmongers in North Beach developed a flavorful broth studded with the best of the day's catch. The name most likely comes from the Italian dialect word ciuppin, for "to chop." But at Fisherman's Wharf, a favorite story you hear is that Italian cooks would ask fishermen to "chip in" to that day's pot. Read more »

Curry Goat

Meats | Curry Goat

(Jamaican curried goat stew)

Goat is a favorite meat in much of the Caribbean, and in Jamaica, curry goat is the favorite way to cook it. Full of flavor, this aromatic stew was originally a must-have dish at large gatherings, parties, dances and other celebrations. These days, Jamaicans cook it at home more and more often. Substitute lamb meat if you can't find goat. Read more »

Curry Laksa

Soups | Curry Laksa

(Malaysian, Singaporean coconut curried noodle soup)

Street vendors in the Southeast Asian nations of Malaysia and Singapore can often been seen hawking their own version of a local favorite, curry laksa. This flavorful noodle soup, also called curry mee, is made with a rich, coconut milk-based sauce that is scented with a rempah paste and served with any number of toppings. Read more »


Soups | Dashi Stock

(Japanese basic soup stock)

Dashi is the basic stock used in Japan for a wide variety of soups, stews and other dishes. Flavored with a combination of dried fish flakes and and seaweed, it has the simple, clean flavor of the ocean. Read more »

Daube de Boeuf Provençale

Meats | Daube de Boeuf Provencale

(French Provencal beef braised in red wine)

Popular in southern France, daubes (pronounced "dōb") are slow-simmered stews traditionally cooked in a special pot called a daubière. Beef or lamb are marinated in wine and herbs for a day or two, then simmered in a slow oven until meltingly tender. As with much French food, everyone agrees that a daube should be made just so, yet each region has its own variation. The version here is popular in Provence. Read more »

Ewa Dodo

Ingredients | Black-Eyed Peas

(Nigerian black-eyed pea stew with plantains)

Black-eyed peas (ewa) and plantains (dodo) are staple foods in Nigeria. Ewa dodo is a spicy, stewy combination of black-eyed peas and often fish served with a side of fried plantains. A Nigerian favorite, ewa dodo makes a nutritious and filling meal. Read more »

Fabada Asturiana

Soups | Fabada Asturiana

(Spanish sausage and bean soup)

Fabada, or fabada asturiana, is a rich, warming stew of beans and sausages that originated in the Asturia region on the northwest coast of Spain. Asturians enjoy it as a hearty midday meal. Read more »


Soups | Feijoada Completa

(Brazilian pork, beef and black bean stew)

Feijoada, or feijoada completa, is Brazil's national dish, a lusty meat and bean stew slow simmered and traditionally served as a Saturday afternoon meal. A true feijoada should contain pork, beef, and sausages, with at least one smoked item. Read more »


Soups | Gazpacho Image

(Spanish chilled tomato-cucumber soup)

Gazpacho, the famous soup from the Andalusia region of southern Spain, is an amazingly refreshing foil to a hot summer day. This drinkable salad has been around since Roman times and originally consisted of just a mixture of bread, garlic, oil and water seasoned with vinegar or verjus. It was a poor man's food. The discovery of the New World brought the addition of tomatoes and peppers. Read more »