Chowder Soups have been around for ages. But how did they get started and why are they so popular? Read on for a little chowder soup history… you’ll have a mouth-watering experience, I guarantee it!
Chowder is typically a rich, creamy soup that is chock full of all kinds of ingredients that make it similar to a stew. The ingredients usually include seafood, vegetables and cream. However, over time, the basic seafood chowder has evolved to include all kinds of different flavors and textures.
Traditionally made chowder has a base of bacon and is thickened up with crackers that have been broken into the base. Today, there are all kinds of variations using everything from seafood and poultry, to just using vegetables – a good example is corn chowder.
Famous chowders are found here in the United States. And THE MOST famous one would be Clam Chowder! There are two styles of clam chowder. One is called New England style clam chowder and uses a base of cream. The other popular version of clam chowder is called Manhattan style clam chowder and it uses a base of pureed tomatoes. Both are very delicious and each has a hearty and warm flavor that pleases most palates.
In earlier days, the seafaring communities developed slightly different flavors of chowders. The local fishermen would throw samples of their catches into a large cauldron or pot and boil the chunks of fish with all kinds of vegetables and potatoes. France calls this chowder soup “Chaudiere” – which is the name of the pot it is cooked in. The French also liked to throw in smashed crackers and biscuits to make the soup thicken into a stew-like consistency.
Americans adopted this seafood stew from the French settlers in the Northern colonies. “Chaudiere” eventually became “Chowder” to Americans and the first known and written recipe used that name for it’s header in 1751. History tells us, however, that the recipe was extremely popular long before this so-called first written recipe. A good example is the British. They made their form of the seafood stew for many years before it became popular in the United States.
The early American Chowder soups included onions, bacon, fish, all kinds of spices, crackers or biscuits, claret and water and are often mistaken for bisque soups. But there is a difference between chowders and bisques. But that’s a whole different story. You can find out more about Bisque Soups at the Soup Hoopla website – just follow the link below.
In the 1800’s American cooks started to make the transition to using clams in their recipes – mostly because of the abundance of shell fish found in the New Colonies. Cooks began experimenting and adding cream to the chowders. They then began to differentiate different and unique types of chowder based on the ingredients used. Thus, other types of chowders appeared such as the above mentioned Corn Chowder or Sausage Bean Chowder or Beef Chowder.
Therefore, Chowder doesn’t always have to include seafood. It’s believed that all kinds of vegetable or meat chowders came into existence because the cook was just using up whatever ingredients he or she had lying around the kitchen.
By now you know that chowder comes in many flavors and is generally loved by all. You can try some of the recipes I have listed at my Soup Hoopla Web site and in addition to that, I have great instructions for making a basic chowder.
When you eat chowder, you are partaking in a little bit history too. Enjoy it and reflect on the abundance this country has to offer us.