Many terms in culinary jargon are actually confusing for the ordinary home cook. We often use broth, stock and consommé to imply the same thing when there is substantial difference between a broth and consommé. Let us first understand the difference of the terms before delving into the difference between beef broth and beef consommé.
What is Broth Made Of?
A broth is essentially the liquid that is leftover after cooking veggies, seafood or meat in water. It is just plain liquid with the nutrients absorbed from the meat, veggies or seafood during the cooking process but sans the meat, veggies or seafood. It is just the clear or semi-clear liquid. A broth is usually the primary base for soups.
What is Consommé Made Of?
A consommé is made from stock. A stock is slightly different from a broth. A stock is made by cooking fish bones, meat or meat bones in water with or without added ingredients. It is cooked for a really long time to extract as much nutrients and also taste from the meat or fish or veggies. Once the stock is made, it is mixed with egg whites. This makes parts of the stock blend with the egg whites and the mix tends to surge up forming nice soft layers of thick soup or sauce like liquid. This is then extracted or skimmed off.
While a broth has to be cooked further with other ingredients to make a soup, a consommé can be served as it is. It could be used with other ingredients or in special dishes but consommé itself is a finished dish. Now, let us talk about the difference between beef broth and beef consommé.
Cooking Beef Broth
Beef broth is cooked with beef bones and water. You put some beef bones in boiling or warm water and then allow it to simmer. The nutrients in the bones get absorbed by the water, thus leaving a rich taste. The result is a flavorful beef broth which can be used in sauces, soups and stews. It can also be used to make gravies.
Cooking Beef Consommé
Beef consommé can be made from beef broth or beef stock. Once the stock is made by using beef and/or beef bones, the stock is clarified. The meat or the beef bones would be filtered out and then the stock would be blended and cooked with egg whites to make beef consommé. You can add special ingredients if you want.
Beef broth is lighter while beef consommé is thicker and more consistent. Beef broth can be bland but beef consommé would be very rich in flavor.