“Hey, Uncle Uisgea,” I frequently hear, “what the heck is the difference between stock and broth and stuff like that?  Huh?  Answer me!”

I get that question all the time.

Basically, stock is made out of bones (chicken, veal, what-have-you), crustacean shells, or, in the case of vegetable stock, nothing but vegetables.  The key word is “bones.”  I know, I know.  Crustacean shells aren’t really bones, and vegetables don’t have any bones at all.  I know that.  But, for whatever reason, that’s the way it’s worked out.

Broth, on the other hand, is not made with bones; it is made with meat.

When you go to the store shopping for stock, there’s a good chance that you won’t see anything labeled “stock;” it’s all labeled “broth.”  If you read the list of ingredients, though, all that “broth” is, technically, “stock.”  Broth made out of chicken bones?  No.  Stock, but certainly not broth.

I have my own theory about why gigantic, Big Brother-ish manufacturers mislabel stock, but that’s another tale for another time.

A consommé is a clarified stock.  Left to its own devices, stock tends to be a little cloudy.  Remove all the impurities, make it crystal-clear, and abracadabra, you have a consommé on your hands.  Well done, you!

Court bouillon–pronounced coor bwee-yon, of all things–is just water with some wine, lemon juice, herbs, etc.  Its only real purpose is functioning as a poaching medium.

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