Do you add something special to your soups or stews?

dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

Do you have a special or secret ingredient to your soups and stews?

On the Oregon coast they have seafood and there is a place called "Mo's". They sell the best clam chowder and we used to be able to get a base mixture of the recipe in a certain store locally and in the Willamette Valley. I don't know if they have it now or not but my mom loved it and would often add all kinds of things including: bacon bits, heavy cream, butter and whatever else seemed really good that day.



  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That sounds really good!!

    I don't really have a secret or anything special that I do when making soups or stews. I just save my chicken stock whenever I make chicken in my Instant pot and then freeze it for making soups or curry. When we have a small amount of greens left I freeze it too and add it to soups. Once a week lately I've been putting cilantro, onions, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes in my food processor and making a salsa but I add it to soups or almost everything. All of it married together with some spices and salt and pepper makes a nice soup no matter what kind it is.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    My "secret" ingredient in many soups, stews, sauces and gravies is wine. When I brown the meat for a stew, I deglaze the pan with wine. Or I will deglaze the pan after an oven roast to make gravy. Same for a mirepoix for soup; I add wine after the veggies have sauteed. Red wine goes in the simmering liquid for short ribs or a pot roast.

    When I am making a bone broth or even a veggie stock, I will add wine to help with the breakdown of the bones and veggies, extracting as much goodness as possible. Red wine for beef bones, white wine to make chicken or fish stock.

    Because of the long cooking times there is no alcohol left. Just extra flavour!

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,088 ✭✭✭✭

    All of this sounds good and is making me hungry!

    @Torey I did not realize that wine helped breakdown of bones and veggies! I will definitely start that! Thanks!

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Torey is it specifically the alcohol in the wine that provides the benefit?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @Michelle D

    If you mean in the bone broths, it is the acidity of the wine that helps extract the goodness in the bones. You could do the same with apple cider vinegar or a red or white wine vinegar.

    If you mean for deglazing the pans, the wine gets all the flavour bits that might be stuck on. The wine will also help to tenderize the meat, especially helpful with tougher cuts of stew meat or pot roasts. Again, I think it is the acidity that does that. Not necessarily the alcohol.

    The wine added a depth of flavour to dishes. It is said that you should use a wine that you will be drinking with the dish, suggesting that it be a better quality wine. However, we go to a U-brew and make some of the cheapest white and red wines, just for cooking. A merlot or a cabernet sauvignon for red and a sauvignon blanc for white are what we usually use but any type of dry wine will work.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin
    edited November 5

    Bacon, heavy cream & butter would certainly make a dish wonderful! We will put heavy cream &/or butter in many of our soups. It is very traditional to do that it most Mennonite soups. It helps that we have a ready supply. 😉

    To answer the OP, I add extra herbs to my soups & broths, such as stinging nettle. I have done others as well.

    I've used ACV in my bone broth, but red wine would give a different flavor, and I love varied flavors in foods.

    Now, not being a drinker of alcohol, I have a question. Is it possible to save extra in the freezer (like in the form of ice cubes) for another day or does it have to be consumed?

    I'm assuming @Torey that you don't drink the cheap, made-for-cooking wine.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning I rarely drink anything so, no, I don't drink the cheap cooking wine. When I do have a drink it is often just enough to sample the taste. Then I will have a better idea how it can be used as a flavouring agent in cooking.

    I have some recipes that use beer, too. Often the stronger flavoured beers. I have a recipe for a BBQ sauce made with Honey Brown Lager and I've used it in braised short ribs. There are lots of recipes on the net for Guinness; stews, chocolate cakes, cheese fondues, etc.

    The alcohol is evaporated off so it doesn't affect the freezing capabilities. I freeze in both larger quantities (usually in recycled yogurt or sour cream tubs) and small quantities (like ice cubes).

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    @Torey I wasn't clear, I guess. I was asking about the leftover cooking wine, or are enough foods just baked/cooked at one time to use it up?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning My mistake. I thought you might be asking about leftover wine but wasn't sure.

    I use it up quickly enough that it doesn't go bad. A standard wine bottle is 750 ml or just over 3 cups. I will use as much as a cup or more each time depending on the size of the meal or stock pot. So it gets used up pretty quickly. I have plastic bottle stoppers so I don't have to try and shove the cork back in. I just keep it in the cupboard, not the fridge.