A sauce or soup base made from meat stock (generally beef, veal, or poultry, but also fish) that is clarified into a clear and flavorful liquid broth. Egg whites are used to clarify the meat stock and any added ingredients such as vegetables and/or herbs. The mixture is stirred while being brought to a boil. As the egg whites solidify on the top of the mixture and allow the fats and impurities to be absorbed or attached into the white, the boiled solution is no longer stirred. At this point, the remaining stock is clear and rich, enhanced with the flavors of the ingredients.
Consommé can be made as a single consommé that is the thinnest of the broths or as a double consommé that is more flavorful, but half the volume of the single consommé. By adding gelatin to the consommé, the broth becomes thicker to add body as an ingredient to many recipes. Consomme with gelatin can be cooled to be served as a cold soup. By increasing the amount of gelatin added, consommé can be made into "aspic" a jellied food traditionally served as a salad surrounded by lettuce.