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Old 11-06-2007, 08:49 PM   #1
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Bisque & Chowder

I posed the question in the wrong place, soooo, I'm asking it here. What is the difference between a bisque and a chowder. I've seen both as creamy, & starch-based, or not. For instance, Manhattan Clam Chowder has no cream and little starch in it, Brocoli Bisque that again has no flour or cream in it, etc.

Before posting the question, I thought maybe a bisque was smooth and a chowder, chunky.

But I don't really know.

From Epicureous Food Dictionary we get: bisque
[bihsk]
A thick, rich soup usually consisting of pureed seafood (sometimes fowl or vegetables) and cream.

And: chowder
A thick, chunky seafood soup, of which clam chowder is the most well known. The name comes from the French chaudière , a caldron in which fishermen made their stews fresh from the sea. New England-style chowder is made with milk or cream, Manhattan-style with tomatoes. Chowder can contain any of several varieties of seafood and vegetables. The term is also used to describe any thick, rich soup containing chunks of food (for instance, corn chowder).

But Epicureous has not always been correct in my observance. So what do all of you think the difference is?

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

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Old 11-06-2007, 09:31 PM   #2
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Like I said in the other thread GW, It is an interesting question. To add to the "confusion" I (and others) make a Crawfish Bisque that does not have potatoes, or milk/cream, and is not pureed. Also it has tomatoes like the "Manhattan Style" Oh!! and some say if the 'concoction' does not have stuffed crawfish heads/bodies in it. Then it is a Crawfish Stew and not Bisque! And the beat goes on........


Enjoy!
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:35 PM   #3
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Bisque is traditionally thicken with pureed riced. The term is really seems to describe any soup thing, that is "creamy" nowadays.
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Old 11-07-2007, 12:19 AM   #4
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I went to my trust Escoffier and he states that the base of bisques is shellfish cooked in a mirepoix.

Adds that the thickening agent could be rice, a fish veloute (don't know how to get that accent mark over the 'e'), or crusts of bread fried in butter.

No cream, however one says verboten in French, it ain't there.

But was able to dig out Lundy's book by Kathy Gunst and her recipe for lobster or crab bisque, which is supposed to mimic the revered, and sorely missed Lundy's restaurant in Brooklyn, definitely includes cream.

Have made it both ways. I think the dish is better without, the cream does somehow, at least to me, dilute the flavor of the shellfish. But then again the cream does add a nice dimension to the soup. So am torn on the issue.

As to which is the correct way to make a true bisque, I think, as with many cooking terms, the question has become rhetorical and moot.

But then again I would recommend severe penalties for the person who first used the term martini for anything made with anything other than gin, or vodka if one must, and vermouth.

LOL and enjoy the soups.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:43 AM   #5
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For those that do not know, marketing makes the difference in dining out. Some restaurants that are unable to differentiate will use which ever term sounds better on the menu, irrespective if it is apt or not.
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:31 AM   #6
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I believe the difference is the texture as you suspected, GW. A pureed chowder is a bisque.
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:49 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I also read that originally a bisque included shellfish, but now can contain anything from shellfish, to winter squash, to fruit. Now it seems, as Andy states, that the difference between a bisque and chowder is texture. A bisque is blended into a smooth mixture while the chowder is chunky in nature.

I guess we will have to accept the ever evolving nature of language, even with martini's.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodweed
I guess we will have to accept the ever evolving nature of language, even with martini's.





You are probably right GW! However, I will never forget the Crab & Corn Bisque at Commander's Palace in New Orleans prepared by the beloved (and now deceased) Chef Jamie Shannon. Or the Crawfish Bisque at the original Don's location in Lafayette Louisiana both of which were not pureed! Yum!!
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Old 11-07-2007, 05:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post




You are probably right GW! However, I will never forget the Crab & Corn Bisque at Commander's Palace in New Orleans prepared by the beloved (and now deceased) Chef Jamie Shannon. Or the Crawfish Bisque at the original Don's location in Lafayette Louisiana both of which were not pureed! Yum!!
Wish I could have been there with you. But then again, I wish you could have been with me in the Phillipines for one of the finest meals I ever ate.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:17 PM   #10
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So long as it tastes terrific, who cares about the semantics? Lol!!!

Anyway, I've always considered Bisque = smooth; Chowder = chunky.
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