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I was eating a chicken stew and a beef stew both with the same ingredients. What I noticed was the beef stew had better and more distributed flavour whereas the chicken stew didn't taste as well distributed. The beef stew liquid definately tasted superior to the chicken stew liquid.

I wondered why this may have been the case and what I noticed was the beef stew had a lot more fat(saturated) then the chicken. Suspecting this may have been the cause I googled this and found the following in an article:

"We all know that fat affects flavor thanks to the mouth-coating richness that butter or olive oil can impart to a dish. But fats do more than add textural nuance. Many of the flavor compounds that make herbs and aromatics such compelling seasonings are what we call fat-soluble, meaning they'll actually spread and coat your tongue better when they're immersed in lipids. Using fat in anything from marinades to braises helps coax out, layer, and evenly distribute flavors."

So it seems the fat may be giving the differences I am noticing. However the article also mentions olive oil. Issue is when cooking the chicken we used oil(I think sunflower or vegetable) yet it didn't distribute flavors like the meat stew which had a lot of saturated fat. That being the case I would not expect olive oil to distribute flavors like the saturated fat from meat so why is it mentioned in the article alongside fat. I think it olive oil has no solid fat. Or is the article saying anything with some fat e.g. olive oil or sunflower oil will distribute flavor but more solid fat will distribute even better(hence the fatty meat stew tasting more distributed)?

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Saturation doesn't effect the extraction or distribution of flavors, your beef stew was just more flavorful than your chicken stew. Any fat (and that includes oil) will do the job, the difference is in the flavor of the fat and texture differences you would get from the different oils. Beef fat will be richer than olive oil, giving the impression of flavor distribution when it's actually the amount of flavor that is different.

  • Are you saying the difference was caused by the taste of animal fat vs sunflower oil mixing with the same herbs and spices and not because one carries flavors better than the other? Could the quantity of fat have made a difference i.e. it seemed there was more fat in the beef stew and less oil in the chicken so perhaps more surface to carry flavours? – James Wilson Nov 17 at 17:58
  • It's unlikely the quantity made much difference, you only need so much. – GdD Nov 17 at 23:55

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