Consommé and broth are both savory cooked liquids, either used as the base ingredient for soup or served alone as a soup.
Broth, also known as bouillon, is a soup-like liquid made by cooking vegetables and seasonings in water for a few hours, sometimes with meat or chicken, resulting in a cloudy liquid that’s often used as a base for different types of soup.
Consommé is a soup-like liquid made from the concentrated broth. This dish is clear with a rich flavor and is usually served as a soup in its original state.
Comparison Chart: Is Consommé the Same as Broth?
|Ingredients||Ground beef or chicken, vegetables, egg whites, water, seasoning||Chicken, beef, or fish, vegetables, water, seasoning|
|How to make||Simmer with a mirepoix to filter||Boil all ingredients and simmer gently|
|How to serve||Alone as a soup||As a base for other dishes|
|Origin||17th-century France||Ancient China|
|Health properties||Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber||Rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Contains cholesterol|
Consommé is a type of concentrated soup made from the clarified broth. Using egg whites to remove impurities and excess fat from the broth, clarifying is a process that brings out the natural flavor and results in a richly-flavored clear soup.
There are various types of consommé, depending on what type of broth is used as the base. Use vegetable, beef, chicken, veal, or fish broth.
The main ingredients are broth and a mirepoix (which is made of egg whites), onions, carrots, and ground beef or chicken. The mirepoix floats on the surface of the liquid, acting as a raft or filter that separates and traps the impurities, leaving a clear liquid beneath.
How to Make Consommé
Start with 1 liter of high-quality meat, chicken, fish, or vegetable broth. Follow these step-by-step instructions to make consommé:
- Place the broth in a large stock pot over high heat. Once the broth is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer
- While the broth is heating, whisk three egg whites lightly until aerated, but not stiff
- Finely chop three carrots and two onions
- Mix the carrots and onions with 1 pound of ground beef or chicken, add the egg whites, and mix well
- Add the mixture (called a mirepoix) to the stock and leave it to simmer until the mirepoix floats on the surface
- Leave the mixture to simmer on low heat for 10–5 minutes, until all the solid bits and the fat in the broth have been trapped in the mirepoix on the surface
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and gently create a hole in the center of the mirepoix
- Using a ladle, remove the liquid through the hole in the center and strain the liquid through a muslin cloth. The result will be a totally clear consommé
How to Serve Consommé
Heat consommé to a simmer and serve as an appetizer, garnished with a sprig of fresh herbs or a few pieces of julienne vegetables.
Serve consommé accompanied by fresh cheesy garlic bread or focaccia for a wholesome and filling meal.
Origin of Consommé
Consommé dates back to the 17th century when Louis XIV of France vainly ordered his personal chef to create a soup so clear that he could see his own reflection in the bowl.
The clear liquid became popular for its rich flavor, and is now not only a common item in French cuisine, but is well-loved around the world as a delicious soup.
Availability and Price
Consommé is best when made from fresh ingredients at home, using homemade broth, fresh vegetables, eggs, and meat, chicken, or fish.
Ready-made tinned consommé is available in assorted varieties, and costs between $4 and $8. Consommé powder is a concentrated, dehydrated powder that is reconstituted by adding water and heating. The product is available in most supermarkets for $3–$10, depending on the brand.
Is Consommé Healthy?
Vegetable consommé is a healthy low-fat food packed with vitamins, minerals, iron and fiber. When chicken is added, consommé provides much-needed protein. Beef consommé is also rich in healthy nutrients, but contains higher levels of fat.
Tinned and powdered consommés often have added sodium and preservatives, which are unhealthy.
Broth, sometimes also called bouillon, is an umami-flavored liquid made of meat, fish, and/or vegetables cooked by simmering in water. While this ingredient can be eaten on its own as a soup, broth is more commonly used as the base ingredient for other soups, as well as in stews, sauces, and gravies.
The basic ingredients in vegetable broth are carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, and garlic, although you can add any other vegetables that appeal to your taste. Add salt, pepper, and some fresh herbs for seasoning, and add chicken, meat, or fish for extra protein and flavor.
How to Make Broth
Here is an easy step-by-step guide to making vegetable broth.
- Chop the vegetables finely, without peeling them. The skins contain many nutrients and add flavor to the broth
- Place the vegetables and seasoning in a large stock pot, fill to ¾ full with water, and cover with a lid
- Place the pot over a high flame and bring it to a boil
- Leave the pot to simmer for 45 minutes
- Remove the pot from the heat and strain the liquid, which will be a tasty, cloudy broth
How to Serve Broth
Broth can be served on its own as a soup, for an appetizer, but it’s more commonly used as a base ingredient in richer soups like chicken soup, bean soup, or tomato soup.
This soup base is also a key ingredient in many sauces and gravies, acting as a flavorful base that gives the food a liquid consistency.
Origin of Broth
Broth was originally used 2,500 years ago as a key ingredient in Chinese medicine. Since then, this dish has evolved into a base for many other foods and is commonly featured in Asian, Chinese, and Korean cuisine.
Availability and Price
Homemade broth is easy to make using seasonal vegetables and either meat, chicken, or fish — all items that can be bought at your local supermarket.
Numerous varieties of ready-made tinned broth are available in stores, costing between $3 and $8. Commercial stock powder, costing from $2–$8, can be used to make broth by just adding water to the powder.
Is Broth Healthy?
Vegetable broth is low in calories and fats, rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and is a healthy addition to your diet.
Chicken, meat, or fish broth contains nutritious protein and essential fatty acids, in addition to all the health properties of vegetable broth. However, chicken and meat broth also contain cholesterol, which isn’t good for you.
Choosing Consommé vs Broth
Broth is a savory cloudy liquid made from chicken, meat or fish, seasonings, and vegetables. Usually used as a base ingredient in other dishes like soups, stews, and gravies, broth can be made at home from fresh ingredients or bought ready-made in a tin.
Consommé is a soup made from broth that’s been clarified with a mirepoix containing meat or chicken, vegetables, and egg whites. Like broth, consommé can be homemade or store-bought.
Stock is a soup-like liquid that’s similar to broth but thicker because stock is made from meat or chicken bones. Stock can be used as an alternative to broth or consommé if a thicker liquid is desired.