Stews, Soups & Chilies
What is the difference between a stew and a soup, anyhow?
I think the most basic answer is that stew is thicker. Stew is, most often, intended to be the main course, while soup is more likely to be merely part of the meal. Stew is for someone who has an appetite to fill, while soup is for someone who's not feeling well. Does anyone bring you chicken stew when you're feeling down? Do you open up a can of chicken noodle soup when you're really hungry after a hard day at work?
It probably gets more complicated than that, but I don't want to make my head hurt.
Soups and stews played a large part in the diet of frontier America, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was no exception. Some early American recipes were borrowed from the Native Americans who lived on the land before the Europeans came, while others had been passed down from generation to generation, evolving to meet changing conditions and resources. Pioneers spread throughout the U.P. as early as the late 1600s, bringing nutritious soup recipes with them from Europe or New England.
Soups, stews, and chilies remain a simple favorite in America's kitchens.
The recipes in this section are divided into three subsections:
Lastly, I have a confession to make. It is quite possible that my chili recipe section has been heavily influenced by the more than twenty years that I spent in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where I moved, by way of California, after leaving the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
But still, I can remember my father making some pretty spicy chili and I doubt that he ever set foot in Texas.