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How do I thicken a soup into a stew??

I'm mostly a lurker in this comm, but I just had to post with this question and I apologize if its been asked before or if a similiar question has been asked and answered.
I make a lot of soups in the crock pot because the family simply loves them but the problem I've run into is that they are all soups, I have never made a successful stew. How exactly do I get a soup to thicken enough to make a stew?? I've tried cooking the meat in flour, adding rue to the hot broth before serving but to no avail!! What exactly am I doing wrong?? I'd love to make a nice thick beef or venison stew for the hubby but they all turn out broth like and not at all creamy or gravy like. Please help?? I'd appreciate any and all advice!! Thank you in advance!! <3

Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
throbinson
Mar. 18th, 2013 02:16 pm (UTC)
Hi from a fellow lurker! One thing I typically do to thicken up soups is to add barley or beans; you can partially mash the beans to add texture. You can use a cornstarch/water mix as long as you're going to cook for a while longer. These things would apply to either a slow cooker or regular stovetop cooking.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks I appreciate the advice!! :D
sassy_cat
Mar. 18th, 2013 02:25 pm (UTC)
I remove some of the broth and mix it with cornstarch to make a roux, adding more broth until there are no lumps. Some prefer flour but I think it has a bit of an aftertaste. Add the mixture back into the stew and let it simmer for around 10-15 minutes. It should be the thick, hearty style stew you're looking to make. *Also, if you're in a rush and like potato flavour, you can just add instant potatoes!
sassy_cat
Mar. 18th, 2013 02:38 pm (UTC)
You know, I shouldn't make comments before I have caffeine.
What I actually do is sort of a roux and slurry mix. 1 Tbsp of cornstarch/flour to 1 Tbsp usually bacon fat but any fat/oil works in a skillet. Heat the fat then add the thickener of choice and mix. After I get the roux going, I add the broth so that I can get an idea of how thick it's going to be as well as to get rid of any remaining lumps.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks I appreciate the advice!! :D
ladypeyton
Mar. 18th, 2013 02:39 pm (UTC)
The easiest most reliable method I've found is to add a scoop of instant mashed potatoes when I throw everything together in the crockpot in the morning and it just comes together by the time it's ready to eat.

purplepuffygirl
Mar. 18th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
Yep! This is what we do. Except we add it towards the end and let it thicken. I've never put it in at the beginning.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you both for the advice... never thought of using mashed flakes before!! :D
lisagems
Mar. 18th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, mashed flakes work great. I've also made a roux with tapioca flour. I find it works better in the crock than wheat flour.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 07:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah I will definitely have to try the mashed flakes since its been recced alot... thanks!! :D
hypnobarb1
Mar. 18th, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
I use some of the broth mixed with Wondra flour. The flour is especially designed to use as a thickener for gravy, soup, or stew. I've also used it mixed with milk or half & half to make a creamier gravy or stew.

Wondra is usually found near the bagged flour, but it comes in a blue cylindar container.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
I've honestly never heard of this flour but I'll have to look it up when I go to the grocers again, thanks!! :D
sacramentalist
Mar. 18th, 2013 02:57 pm (UTC)
Use more roux.

Maybe take a large portion of the liquid and reduce it in another pot?

Use some potatoes to the recipe and then mash half of them.

Since you're already using beans, maybe add split lentils? They cook and dissolve quickly.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice!! :D
sacramentalist
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:16 pm (UTC)
No probs. That's red split lentils, PS.

One problem with thickeners in the slow cooker is is not having enough time/heat for the thickening to occur.


alexcat
Mar. 18th, 2013 03:01 pm (UTC)
Mix 1 tablespoon corn starch with 1 tablespoon cold water until smooth and add it to the soup 15 minutes or so before serving. Stir and let it simmer until meal time. This worked very well with Irish Beef Stew last night.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! :D
kestrelcat
Mar. 18th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
Depending on the amount of liquid you my might need more than one thickener.

For example when I make stew I
1. dip the meat in flour and brown it.
2. make a roux in the pot where I browned the meat. The darker the roux the less it will thicken. So the longer you brown it the less liquid it will take up. So blond roux work better for high liquid stews.
3. Remember that every veggie you add will add liquid to the mix. So I drain canned items like beans and corn.
4. Add starchy items, like potatoes, sweet taters, beans, rice, grain and lentils.

Hope this helps-
KC
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
So many lovely suggestions, thank you!! :D
onlyariana
Mar. 18th, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
My first advicse is that you shoudn't add *any* liquid. Meat and veggies will produce all the liquid you need.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! :D
macbyrne
Mar. 18th, 2013 04:29 pm (UTC)
I add barley to my stews; it's a great thickener. If by serving time the stew is a little runny, I just mix together a little flour and water and add to the stew (through a strainer, to avoid any lumps).
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! :D
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
There have been so many lovely ideas, I will have to play around with the most popular ones and see which works best for me... thanks to everyone for the outpouring of advice!! This is a really great group and I appreciate all the help!! <3
thedrought
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
beef stew
so far, the stew i've made is this one
http://cooking.livejournal.com/3153903.html?nc=9#comments

the only liquid is wine. other than that it's tomato paste, & olive oil.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
Re: beef stew
It almost makes me think of a ragout of sorts... might try it sometime!! :D
mahsox_mahsox
Mar. 18th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC)
If I feel right from the start there is going to be too much water, I throw a in a handful of dry beans at the bottom of the crock... really any type except the kidney bean family because those need proper boiling or they give you intestinal hassle. If the crock has a couple of hours to go and is looking watery, I pull aside the solid ingredients and throw in a handful of those small red lentils or some finely chopped potato direct into the liquid so they can dissolve into it.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice and might I add how very lovely your icon is... <3
faithful_summer
Mar. 18th, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC)
I don't make soups or stews, but for thickening up sauces, I've always used cornstarch.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 18th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks :D
rachelpage
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:14 am (UTC)
I use cornstarch dissolved in tap water. I also simmer the stew so that the liquid evaporates.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 20th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice!! :D
drgaellon
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:58 am (UTC)
I would try taking the lid off (or at least setting it ajar) for the last hour of cooking. I'd also start with MUCH less liquid.
hpfangirl71
Mar. 20th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
That's a good idea, thanks!! :D
leucotheasveil
Mar. 27th, 2013 03:02 am (UTC)
I have to say I loved the idea here of mashed potato flakes.

I usually cook my soups or stews (I love my soups very thick) either with potatoes and/or barley. Then I don't need to fuss about with cornstarch or tapioca. I have also added canned pumpkin (not pie mix, just plain pumpkin) or baby food sweet potatoes to thicken soups up.
They add some flavor, nutrients and in a beef-broth based recipe, you'll never know they are there!
hpfangirl71
Mar. 30th, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, I tried the potato flakes and it works real well... I was pretty impressed and I'm going to try some of the other ideas as well. Thanks for your added ideas here as well hun... :D
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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