Soups & Stews
Crawfish tails are cooked with tomatoes, paprika, and cream to make a luscious stew.
A wine-simmered dish of meat and vegetables is cooked in a dough-sealed pot is Alsatian through and through. It's an improvised meal of odds and ends that cooks for hours at low heat while you go about your business and emerges from the oven with enormous flavor.
You can get a bowl of green chili most anywhere in the American southwest, but New Mexicans are particularly proud of their chile verde, with its hunks of juicy pork shoulder and tart tomatillo-based sauce.
In the Massachusetts suburbs, we didn't acknowledge differing styles from Rhode Island or Maine. To us, clam chowder was always a cream-based wonder, briny with clam liquor, smoky with bacon, and containing, ideally, a high ratio of fresh clams to potato chunks.
During cooking, okra exudes a thick liquid that gives this hearty Cajun stew a sumptuous, silky texture; a little filé powder, made from dried sassafras leaves, further thickens and enriches it. But the backbone of this gumbo, and the source of its smoky flavor, is the roux made by toasting flour in hot oil until it is a deep red-brown.
A hearty beef stock serves as the base for a rich soup of mushrooms and barley, a more elegant (but no less satisfying) version of the New York deli staple, elevated with fresh thyme and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Warming, filling chicken soup just may be the ultimate panacea. Cooking the noodles in the broth enriches both the noodles' flavor and the soup itself, which thickens slightly from the released starches.
Beige and creamy, studded with ham, and homey as a log cabin, Senate bean soup sends the politically useful message that lawmakers are small-town boys and girls at heart.
Bigos—a Polish stew of pork shoulder, bacon, kielbasa, and sauerkraut is perfect for every celebration.
This adaptable stew is from the Brazilian state of Bahia, where Iberian, indigenous, and African foodways intermingle in one of the country's most dynamic cuisines.
The list of ingredients in a West African Peanut Stew often extends to okra, tomatoes, hot chiles, and other bright foils for the stew's intense richness, but it's the indispensable peanut that gives this dish its essential earthy character.
Eaten hot or cold, vegetarian or with shreds of beef, enriched with a dollop of sour cream and wisps of dill, the beet-based soup is the quintessence of good Eastern European cooking.
Southern Vietnamese cooks often simmer catfish steaks with caramel sauce, and use the fish's head and tail in this refreshing soup brightened with tamarind and pineapple.
The Indian antecedent to my favorite soup, mulligatawny, likely was a thin, spicy lentil broth. The British thickened it, added meat, but, thankfully, kept the glorious Indian spices.
A stew made from chana dal (yellow split peas), sambar is a spicy medium for vegetables from miniature eggplants to okra to pearl onions.
This Tuscan soup traditionally uses fish considered "bottom of the boat"—those left behind after more valuable fish have sold.
In the Philippines, the most common main ingredients of adobo, the national dish, are pork or chicken or both, braised in seasoned vinegar.
This savory pumpkin soup is served in Haiti on January 1, the anniversary of Haiti's liberation from France. It is said that the soup was once a delicacy reserved for white masters but forbidden to the slaves who cooked it. After Independence, Haitians took to eating it to celebrate the world's first and only successful slave revolution resulting in an independent nation.
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