What Is Chupe?

A. Leverkuhn

Chupe is a general term used in South America for soups. Experts point out that in actuality, many versions of this food are more like what North Americans refer to as a stew, with a thicker texture than soup. Chupe comes in a wide variety of styles, partly based on the various countries in which it is served, and also based on the ingredients that cooks choose to use for this dish.

Mussels may be included in chupe.
Mussels may be included in chupe.

This soup food can include many various kinds of meat. Chicken, or pollo, as it’s known in Spanish, can be added to this dish. Beef, or ternera, or even pork can also be added. Other more exotic meats also figure in some versions of the dish.

The taste of garlic can add a lot to chupe.
The taste of garlic can add a lot to chupe.

One common addition to this type of soup is garlic. The intense flavor of garlic can add a lot to this type of dish. Garlic also has significant nutritional value which can lead cooks to include several cloves of garlic in a batch of chupe.

Other vegetables may also go into the mix for these soups. In general, vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery are added to many presentations. These are generally added early in the cooking process, so that they soften and break down over time.

Some common addition to the South American soup is cilantro, also known as coriander. This green herb has a fresh flavor, making it a staple of South American cooking. Other green herbs like oregano or parsley may also be added.

Certain versions of this dish include various kinds of seafood. Shrimp, or camarones, are common in seafood versions of chupe, but any sort of seafood can be added. Much like with other kinds of soup or stew around the world, these soups or “chowders” can include fish, crab, scallops, mussels, or any other kind of seafood. In some versions, even exotic seafoods like eel may be used, though this is not part of the common “canon” for these kinds of soups.

In general, recipes for chupe will include much of what the reader sees on an average Latin American menu. It’s important for culinary audiences around the world to note that the same Spanish language titles applied to these foods as meals will also apply to them as ingredients in chupe. That means anyone with a basic knowledge of Spanish language food titles will more effectively understand authentic chupe recipes as they are usually presented.

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