Whether made from meat poultry vegetables or fish, clear soups are all prepared in a similar manner. They are not difficult to make, but do require patience and attention to achieve a quality product.
Broth and bouillon can be used interchangeably and are considered to be among the simplest of soups to make. the flavor of a broth or bouillon comes from simmering the ingredients for a long period of time. The French poule au pot (chicken in a pot), Italian zuppa are both broths.
Consommé is a concentrated clear soup, and is the most sophisticated of the clear soups. It is made by reducing then clarifying a veal, beef, chicken, game of fish stock. While ordinary stock is made with bones a consume is enriched with pieces of the chicken veal or beef.
The term consommé double describes the fact that the extraction of flavor happens twice therefore using double the amount of meat and ingredients making an extremely rich clear soup. Consommés thicken naturally with the gelatin that is produced in the extraction process, therefore when chilled consommé will gel on its own.
When a fortified wine or liqueur is used to flavor or perfume a consommé it is added at the end just before service.
Essences are a derivation of consommés with special flavors. the flavors come from extracts of aromatics, flavorful herbs, plants, vegetables. or mushrooms. Common extracts would be truffle, asparagus, fennel, tomato or tarragon extract.