Consommé – The clearest and most pure of stocks

A week ago, I had no idea what a consommé was. A week before that, I didn’t know what a stock was. And now I understand why Chef Daniel Boulud calls a consommé “The highest sophistication of a stock”. It all makes sense now.

I now understand the depth and intricacy involved in making a dish that to the average consumer might seem like something very simple. It is simple, yet so rich and elegant. All this is very new to me and every little thing about it amuses me. Check out Culinary Life..the beginning to get some background. Now that I know what a consommé is and how to make it, I’d like to share it with all of you.

I took a stab at making chicken consommé today, and it actually turned out pretty good. Very simple to make and a perfect french classic for a fancy dinner party or any occasion for that matter.

Chicken Consommé Recipe

Chicken consommé collage

Ingredients:

Prep time: 35-40 mins Cook time: 60 mins 3-4 servings

Ground Chicken Meat 1 kg

Chicken Stock 3 liters (ready-made works since making it from scratch would take 4-5 hours)

Egg Whites 4-5 eggs

Onion 1 large (Diced, brunoise)

Tomatoes 2 medium or 1 diced can

Carrot 3 sticks (Diced, brunoise; save 20 grams for garnish)

Leek 1 stalk (white part) (Diced, brunoise; save 20 grams for garnish)

Celery 3 stalks (Diced, brunoise; save 20 grams for garnish)

Ingredients

Spice Sachet (small cheesecloth bag made of – 1 bayleaf, 4-5 crushed peppercorns, parsley stems, thyme fresh or dry, rosemary fresh or dry)

Spice sachet

Steps:

  1. Preparing the clearmeat
    • This step involves combining the brunoise of onion, leek, celery and carrots and tomatoes with the ground chicken and egg whites. Ensure that the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and transfer the contents to a stockpot.
  2. Raft formation
    • The chicken stock is added to the clearmeat along with the spice sachet and brought to a boil stirring continuously. Note that stirring is a very important step to keep the eggs from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 20 minutes into the process the clearmeat starts to coagulate at the top leaving a clarified stock at the bottom. Simmer for 1 hour, no need to stir during this time.
  3. Straining the consommé and serving with blanched mirepoix
    • Take the stockpot off the heat and strain it using a strainer lined with a damp cheesecloth. Heads up – Try not to disturb the raft while scooping out the consommé with a ladle. Set aside the consommé.
    • Remember the 20 grams of carrots, leek and celery we had set aside for garnish? Now’s the time to use it! Blanch a mix of the three veggies. (Watch this quick tutorial on blanching veggies if in doubt) Set 1 tablespoon of the blanched veggies on each soup-plate and proceed to the next and final step.
  4. Serving
    • Reheat the strained consommé and season with some salt (as required) and white pepper.
    • Pour the hot consommé onto the blanched veggies centered on soup-plates.
    • Serve hot!
Clearmeat in a stockpot
Raft formation
Hot consommé garnished with blanched veggies

This was my first attempt at making chicken consommé and so I had to ask my friends for feedback. My close buddy, Akash, who’s also my biggest critic gave me a thumbs up and said it tasted nothing short of fine dining. And now I feel like a masterchef haha 🙂

All of the hard work paid off because at the end of the day the most rewarding part about cooking is when the people you serve, truly enjoy the food. There were definitely some challenges, the biggest one being perfecting the brunoise cuts and the other one, patience. If I were to do it again, I would probably make a larger quantity since it’s quite time consuming and can easily be stored for 2-3 days and longer if frozen.

This was an amazing experience for me and was an eye-opener to the fact that anybody can cook. It’s only a matter of wanting to. As Chef Daniel Boulud once said, ” Consommé will never go away because it is a part of basic, classic preparation. And it don’t matter where you’re from, what cuisine you make, what culture you belong to. As a chef you will learn to make a consommé and you’ll adapt the consommé to your taste, to your country, to your cuisine but you never forget how to make a good consommé to begin with.” And this is absolutely true for me given that this is only the beginning of my long, beautiful journey as a chef.

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