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Tips For Boosting the Flavor of Your Winter Soups and Stews

There’s something about cooking up a pot of soup or stew that warms our hearts in the depths of winter. Even in Charleston, where we’re fortunate to enjoy a relatively mild climate, the ritual of chopping vegetables, browning meat and simmering fresh ingredients over the course of an afternoon is a highlight of the drabbest of winter months. 

Here at Ted’s, we’re frequently asked about the right cuts and best ingredients for our customers’ favorite winter soup and stew recipes. Based on these questions, we’ve compiled our top tips, cuts and ingredients for the tastiest soups and stews.

We love to help our customers incorporate our quality ingredients into their at-home creations! Call (843) 577-0094 or email info@tedsbutcherblock.com with questions or for recipe ideas.

Inexpensive cuts of beef are best.

Cuts of beef that take longer to tenderize typically cost less. And the fact that they take longer to tenderize makes them perfect for soups and stews because their texture will hold up well during longer cooking times. We recommend cuts from the shoulder or the rear including Chuck, Brisket and Top Round. 

Homemade stock is your base for the best flavor.

Chicken, vegetable and beef stock are easy to make, but they do require additional time. If you’re in a pinch, head to Ted’s. We’ve got the case stocked with housemade chicken and vegetable stock, and are starting to make our own beef stock as well. 

Keep veal bones and veal glace in your freezer for the richest broths, soups & stews.

We always have veal bones in stock, which can be used to make a delicious and rich beef broth at home. We also sell frozen veal glace: A small amount will instantly impart a richer flavor when added to your soups and stews.

Smoked ham hocks are essential for bean soups.

We also keep smoked ham hocks in stock, which you’ll definitely want to use the next time you cook up a pot of bean soup. Whether you’re making black bean soup, Tuscan bean soup, split pea soup – or really any soup that uses pork as an ingredient — using a ham hock will greatly enhance the flavor.

Brown your meats before adding them to the pot.

This is a must. You’ll get much better depth of flavor if you brown the outside of your beef, pork, veal or lamb before adding stock and other ingredients. And if you’re making your own chicken stock, consider roasting the bones before adding to the pot for the richest flavor.

You need real andouille sausage to make an authentic gumbo.

Authentic andouille sausage can be difficult to find, but it’s important if you want a truly tasty gumbo. Andouille is a double-smoked pork sausage that was brought to the U.S. from France and became a base flavor for Cajun cuisine. At Ted’s, we carry Comeaux Andouille and Tasso Ham from Louisiana.

Save your cheese rinds for an extra layer of flavor.

Don’t throw away the rinds of your parmesan reggiano or other hard cheeses. Throw them into your next pot of minestrone, tomato, spilt pea, lentil or any other soup that would taste good with a sprinkle of parmesan on top. Remove rind before serving.

We love to help our customers incorporate our quality ingredients into their at-home creations! Call (843) 577-0094 or email info@tedsbutcherblock.com with questions or for recipe ideas.