I did a bit of research and it appears that consomme is a soup unto itself. I would usually defer to an expert but since this is an SOS, here's a brief discussion of what I found. Still not sure what the policy is regarding posting a possible rival's website, but here it goes.
Consomme is oftenserved like a soup, but doesn't have to be. It's simply stock that's been clarified- the classical method is with a raft of egg shells. The egg coagulates and ties up junk that clouds the stock. The raft is then carefully fished out & the stock is strained.
Crystal-clear rich-flavored consommes (pronounced consomay) are the ultimate in stock or broth-based soups. It is made by clarifying a full-flavored stock or broth by pulling out impurities using the method Rob mentioned. A consomme's flavor and clarity are a couple of hallmarks of a good chef. In a sense, excellent consommes are considered the height of gustatory elegance, something chefs take pride in.
So I'm not sure why a recipe would call for a consomme as a cooking ingredient. After all the effort to raise the consomme to such a high form, it only makes sense to present it as is, an elegant clear soup (with some equally elegant garnish), and not demote it into a mere ingredient for some other dish.
Hi Ishbel! I didn't know there were such things as canned consommes! I have not seen them here. Is it high in flavor and clarity? Or is it merely beef broth given a nice gourmet name for marketing purposes? Could it be that the recipes refer to stock/broth and consomme interchangeably? If it's been clarified, I would hazzard that canned consomme is a bit more expensive than canned beef broth. You may be right that the canned consomme flavor may be more intense and therefore the recipe calls for such. I wouldn't mind using canned consomme myself if such is the case, to raise the level of my cooking.
I just know that if I were to painstakingly make a successful consomme from scratch, I would present it to my guests as a clear soup, with pride. Even without garnish. Because it will stand on it's own merits without having to be dressed up or camouflaged with anything.
Then again, if the canned consomme is excellent in flavor and clarity, maybe I'll just skip the entire process and serve it as my own elegant clear soup!
Baxter's Foods - a Scottish firm - make really good tinned soups! I've always got tins of their Consomme, French onion and cock a leekie soup in the cupboard - because I can use either as a base for other dishes, or as a very reasonable 'readymade' soup!
Sometimes consomme is also taken to mean stock that has been slighty thickened with added gelatine. It is not as fluid as water as stock normally is and is a bit thicker.
I accidently made a rissotto with a packaged consomme (one thickened with gelatine) but it turned out fine. Later made the same rissotto again but with stock and it was exactly the same as far as I could tell.
Haggis, I remember being blown away by the consommes of a couple of excellent French restaurants. Chicken or beef stock would pale severely in comparison. Perhaps canned consomme does not come close to the real thing...
Campbells makes canned beef consomme. It's usually right near the beef broth and isn't that much more expensive.
Since consomme is often served cold as a jellied soup, Cambells adds geletine to their consumme. Otherwise, it tastes pretty much like their beef broth (not that great). It does not appear to have been clarified via the raft of egg and meat the way real consumme is.
Calling for consomme in a recipe seems quite out of the ordinary. What are you making? Is it a European recipe?
I admit that I have made my own homemade consomme from my homemade chicken stock. It's quite a process, but actually really interesting the way the ground meat and egg literally clarify the liquid.
A lot of my favourite recipes are Scottish, rather than European, simply because that's where I'm from, rather than mainland Europe! I have used consomme in a couple of beef recipes - and also when doing a gelatine based meat terrine. It can often give a lot more depth to say, venison casserole, than a plain beef stock.
consemme is a beef marmite" beef stock". It is then clarified using Eggs, meat" turkey, chick, bround beef" and veg." carrot, leek, tomatoe.....all in julliane form. a raft will form. Do not hard boil or raft will break. You then take a ladle and make a hole in the center. ladle all liquid out and stain through a chinoise and cheese cloth.
Consomme is beef stock which has been clarified. Generally, it is not reduced, like glace, so it will give you basically the same depth of flavor that beef stock will.
For recipes like terrines or making the little cubie things served with pate, the clarity of the liquid is important, so consomme should be used. But if clarity isn't important, I would assume beef stock/broth would be interchangeable.