Google books show a couple of matches throughout the pages, but not much. However, strong soup seems to have place. Since these two are more or less alike, can you say strong stew?

  • 2
    A strong stew / soup would be unusual phrasing, to say the least. Idiomatically, it would almost always be a rich stew. Or maybe thick or spicy, depending on exactly what you want to say. Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


No, you couldn't really describe a stew as being 'strong'.

There are some foods that can be directly described as strong, but these tend to be things that are known to have a particular quality that can in turn can be described as such (pungency, potency etc). For example, cheeses can be described as strong to denote their maturity. Coffee is described as strong to denote the strength of the roast or its concentration (the ratio of product to water).

A stew doesn't really have a particular quality that is known for strength, but you could say that any food has a strong flavour.

There are plenty of other words that might commonly describe a soup or a stew, such as rich, thick, heavy, flavourful, spicy, nourishing etc. All of which have different meanings. It just depends what you want to say.

  • But certainly a stew can have properties which one could describe as 'strong'? Like being spicy, or simply having a 'strong' taste, or the same way coffee can be strong? In that sense, it seems a stew can definitely be described as strong, I would surmise. (Also: you have a duplicate 'can' in the second sentence :)
    – Joachim
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 12:11
  • @Joachim I'd have to disagree, Joachim. Native English speakers don't use 'strong' to denote the strength of spice. We would say a food is spicy, and perhaps add that it is 'quite spicy' or 'very spicy'. When foods are extremely spicy, such as those containing a lot of chilli peppers, we say 'hot' rather than 'strong'. It's also worth noting that, while many cultures have 'stews', in western cuisines a stew is not normally a spicy dish, and stews from other cuisines tend to have unique names.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:07

I recall that a piping hot, and substantial stew, the type one eats on a cold winter evening, is said to be

a hearty stew

Ngram reports that the adjectives hot and hearty are by far more commonly used with stew than strong.

  • We wanted a hearty stew, not a soup, so delicate spring vegetables like asparagus and zucchini were immediately ruled out.
    Best slow and easy recipes Editor, Cook's Illustrated

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And although there are a number of false positives for “strong stew” such as a strong stew of trouble, and a strong stew-pan; Google books also reveal legitimate instances.

  • But he was so hungry he cared about little else than sitting on a wobbling stool at the old trestle table and eating a strong stew of vegetables flavored with onions and garlic, herbs and flower petals. (1998) Wild by Jill Barnett

However, these instances are so rare that I would suggest that the OP use instead hearty, spicy, or just tasty to describe a very flavourful stew.

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