Clear, lightly seasoned soup is used as an appetizer, a stimulant and comfort food throughout the world. Clear soups are based on meat, fish and vegetable stock and can be served alone or used as a blank palette for creating hardier meat and cream soups, such as meatball, minestrone, pasta soup, tomato, cauliflower or broccoli cream and beef stew. Clear soups add flavor to rice and pasta dishes and are used in marinades and sauces.
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Consomme is a richly flavored broth made from fish, meat, poultry or vegetable stock that has been clarified. It is served by itself, as an appetizer or used in other recipes. Generally regarded as a high quality soup that requires advanced cooking skills, it is clarified by adding egg whites to the cold stock. When reheated, the impurities stick to the egg whites for easy removal. When it has been properly clarified, it becomes a consommé rather than a stock. Beef consomme is the main ingredient in French onion soup.
This is a delicately flavored soup containing shredded vegetables and is aptly named after the French word, “Julienne,” meaning a particular way of cutting the vegetables. Recipes usually include turnips, carrots, onions, leeks, celery and meatballs or poultry. The vegetables are lightly fried or browned in butter, but must not be overly greasy. The soup uses either a consomme or a vegetable stock.
Noodle soup is a staple dish in many countries where it is served throughout the day. The soup is based on a soy, fish, meat, poultry or vegetable broth and contains noodles, spices and vegetables local to the region. Common noodle soups are won ton soup from China, udon soup from Japan, served with a thick noodle, vegetables and egg in a spicy soy broth, and ramen which uses a thin noodle in a pork or chicken broth, flavored with miso, seaweed and bamboo shoots. Many countries have a version of chicken noodle soup, served with egg or wheat noodles, chicken pieces, carrots, and onions in a chicken broth.
Broth is generally the water in which bones, meat, fish, grains or vegetables have been cooked. It makes a watery soup and often rice or other grains are added to make it more robust. It can be eaten alone or flavored with light vegetables and spices or used as an ingredient in stews, pasta dishes and heavier soups. Broth usually differs from stock in that it is made from animal meat whereas stock is made from boiling bones and vegetable scraps, but the two terms are used interchangeably.