If you've ever furrowed your brow over a soup menu, trying to figure out the difference between bisque and chowder, we're here to clear up any misconceptions. Both are soups, both are delicious, but there's one thing that sets them apart.
Bisque refers to a soup, usually vegetable or seafood-based and frequently cooked with wine, that's been puréed and spiked with cream for a thicker, clingier consistency just begging for a fancy toast to go with it. If you're thinking "well I ain't fancy," think again. If you've ever eaten "cream of anything," you've experienced bisque. And just to cover all our bases, "bisque" can also refer to a type of ceramic and a color of paint that's nothing to write home over. Just beige.
Chowder is a different beast. Your bisque may have once been chowder, but your chowder was definitely never bisque. They're also usually seafood and/or vegetable based, but aren't puréed. In fact, the best part of chowder (besides repeating it in various dialects) is the chunks. They might be clam, potato, bacon or corn, but they're there. Why "chowderhead" is considered an insult eludes us.
Now that we've cleared that up, let's make some golden mussel chowder and serve it in a bisque bowl.
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