So tonight I'm making my Vegan Vegetable Soup. It's completely vegetarian and good for even a Vegan to eat as I don't use any meat or animal biproducts in it. So it got me to remembering. I haven't gotten this lately but I've had people ask me several times what the difference between soup and stew is. Well I figured I'd make a post about it and kinda give what my definition of a soup and a stew is.
Soup - Soup is typically thin. The base of it is watery yet you don't have to use just water as the base. You can use meat stock, fruit juice, vegetable juice, or just water that's flavored with herbs and spices. It can be hot or cold. Gazpacho is an example of a cold soup and also an example of a soup that you can use fruit juice in. So in laymens terms...you need a bowl for soup. Soups are typically served as a starter to a meal as it's typically lighter than a stew.
Stew - A stew is something hearty. The base to a stew is thick. Almost like a very thick gravy. You can serve a stew on a plate as it doesn't need to be contained like soup does. Stews are usually served as a main dish because of how hearty they are. Now stews don't have to be just meat. You can make vegetable stew. But a lot of stews consists of meat. A good vegetable for a stew are potatoes as they are very starchy and heavy. Stews are typically slowly cooked for long periods of time. In like a crock pot or a stew pot. The flavor from a stew is arrived by simmering the ingredients slowly for a long time.
So that's my interpritation of the differences between soups and stews. Most people probably already know this but for those who don't....you've learned something new! :)