Clear soups, sometimes referred to as thin soups, begin with a translucent broth or soup foundation, according to the Vintage Recipes website. Beef and vegetable soups are considered clear soups, as well as most chicken soups made with noodles or rice. No matter how many grains, vegetables and meats are added to the soup, as long as it starts with a translucent broth it is considered a clear soup. Clear soups are then sometimes named according to the principal ingredient, such as beef barley.
Bouillon is the French word for broth or stock and often the three words are used interchangeably. Bouillon has come to mean a soup that has the fat removed, clarifying the broth, then skimming and straining the liquid, resulting in a clear soup. To flavor the clear soup, herbs, spices and other seasonings are added, as well as wine and diced onions and carrots.
Stock and Broth
Stock is prepared differently from the preparation of most types of clear soups. Stock is the liquid made from the vegetables, meat or fish that slowly cook together. The simmering stock extracts flavorful juices. When the liquid is used as an ingredient it is referred to as stock. When it's ladled out as a soup, it is referred to as a broth, according to the Gomestic website.
Consomme is a different type of clear soup because the liquid is boiled down until it is reduced by half. This is done to intensify the flavor. Consomme begins with broth or stock made from poultry or meat. When the liquid is reduced further, it turns into a gel when chilled, especially if prepared without bone. Consomme is a clear soup that can be eaten either cold or hot. When jellied and served cold, consomme is often eaten as an appetizer. When served hot, other ingredients such as vegetables, rice and pasta are often added.
Consomme double is an extremely rich type of clear soup. The extraction of flavor is done two times using twice the amount of meat and other ingredients. If flavored with a fortified liqueur or wine, the liquid is added just before the consomme double is served.
Essences are clear soups derived from consommes, with special added flavors that come from a variety of extracts. This includes flavorful herbs and plants, vegetables, mushrooms, fennel, truffle, tomato, asparagus or tarragon extract, according to the Food University website.