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Madrilène is a type of consommé made with tomatoes as a star ingredient. It is often served cold as a summer soup, with a traditional accompaniment of a lemon wedge, although it can also be served hot. Madrilène can be found on the menu at some restaurants, especially French establishments, and it can also be made at home. Some markets also sell madrilène in vacuum sealed containers or jars which consumers can reheat or serve chilled, depending on their preference.
Madrilène is more properly known as consommé madrilène, which translates in French as “soup in the style of Madrid.” The “consommé” is often dropped, with most consumers understanding that “madrilène” refers to this particular dish rather than any other French foods which may be made Madrid-style. A consommé is a rich broth which is made by simmering an assortment of ingredients together and slowly skimming the impurities which rise to the surface, creating a clear, even-textured broth. Consommé can be used as a base for other soups and sauces, or it can be eaten plain.
When warm, madrilène can be a refreshing, bracing soup. Cold madrilène can be an excellent food on a hot day, and some cooks also prepare jellied madrilène, which may included suspended inclusions like finely chopped vegetables. Chilled madrilène can be used as a base for tomato gazpacho, or poured over ice in cocktail glasses. Some people like to drink thinner versions of madrilène just like tomato juice.
Recipes for this tomato consommé vary widely. Some have a focus on tomatoes, with minimal additional ingredients, while others blend an assortment of vegetables and sometimes meats as well into the finished dish. Some cooks like to skip the cooking process altogether and produce madrilène by running tomatoes through a high powered juicer to yield tomato juice which can be blended with ingredients like salt, pepper, lemon, and ginger to taste and served cold. Others prefer to go through the consommé cooking process for a rich, hearty madrilène which can always be made in a big batch and frozen for future use.
The Spanish also make a dish called madrilène or madrileno, which takes the form of a rich, hearty stew with vegetables, beans, and meats. Cocido madrileno, as it is more formally known, is a popular food in central and northern Spain. These dishes are unique enough that it would be difficult to confuse them, although in regions around the border between France and Spain, you may want to clarify which type of madrilène is under discussion when you see it on offer on a menu.
So where can you buy this stuff in a can? Crosse and Blackwell used to sell it in the 1960s. Does anyone else make it? I used to love it served almost frozen with a squeeze of lime or lemon. Yum? Help?