A consomme is made by adding a mixture of ground meats or mouselin with Mirepoix, tomatoes, and egg whites into either bouillon or stock. This is then slowly brought to a simmer, and carefully kept there until the desired product is reached. The act of simmering brings impurities to the surface of the liquid, which are further drawn out due to the presence of acid from the tomatoes. Eventually, all the solids will form a raft at the surface of the liquid, which is held together by the egg protein. The resulting concoction is then a clear liquid that has either a rich amber color for beef or veal consomme or a very pale yellow color or poultry consomme. It is then carefully drawn from the pot and passed again through a filter to ensure its purity, and then is put through the lengthy process of skimming all visible fats from its surface. When meat is being prepared for consommé, as much fat as possible should be trimmed. Cartilage and tendons should be included because these contain gelatin, which enhances the flavor of the soup. If beef or veal is used, shin meat is ideal because it is very low in fat, very high in gristle, and undesirable for most other purposes. The meat is best if it is ground very fine into mousselin.
Consommes are usually served piping hot because they tend to cool down more quickly than other soups and form a gel when they do. They are most often served with garnishes which vary in complexity from a simple splash of sherry or egg yolk, to cut vegetables, to shaped savory custards called royales. Consommes are ideal for whetting the appetite of the diner, especially in the traditional seven-course meal format, as they are very rich and tasty in flavor, but are neither filling nor heavy feeling after consumption.
Consommes tend to be both expensive and difficult to make. A large amount of meat can yield a small amount of consomme. In some recipes, as much as a pound of meat can go into a single 8oz serving. The difficulty stems from the relatively complex clarification process involved in making it, which can often fail the impatient, careless, or inattentive cook.
Despite, or perhaps because of, these limitations, consomme has maintained its place as one of the most highly regarded and appreciated soups in the world.
The ingredients you will need for Chicken Consomme Brunoise: Clearmeat: 8 Ounces of Ground chicken breast only
4 Ounces of yellow onion juliened
2 Ounces of celery juliened
2 Ounces of carrot juliened
4 Egg whites whisked
4 Ounces of chopped tomato
Consomme: 1 12 inch cheesecloth for herb sachet and a piece of butchers twine
6 Cups of cold chicken stock
1 Parsley sprig with stem removed chopped
2 Thymes srpigs with stem removed chopped
1 Whole clove
1 Bay leaf
Salt and Black pepper as needed or To Taste
First you will whisk your egg whites and mix your clear meat with the frothy egg white mixture. You will then add your mirepoix which consists of the onion, celery and carrots, tomato and herb sachet. To make the herb sachet lay the cheesecloth flat on the table and add your parsley, thyme, clove and bay leaf. Then tie it with one end of the twine and the other end to a handle on the side of the stock pot if you have one. If you do not that it fine it will float with the raft.
Second you will add the cold stock to the stock pot and add your clearmeat, and give it a stir you will stir this consomme just a few times until it reaches the desired temperature of 140F degrees and then stop !. No more stirring after this point! You will then notice that the clearmeat has started to form what is called a raft. You will poke a small vent hole in the raft by using a spoon to create and opening. Do this very gently you do not want to put any particles back into the soup. You will then remove the pot from the full flame. You will leave the pot half on, or half off of the stovetop. You want the temp of the soup to be about 140 F and over a medium low to a low heat. The soup will start to filter itself through the clearmeat raft. You will want to taste for salt and pepper and add to the top of the raft and it will filter through and not cloud your consomme.
When you are ready to serve you will take some sarrots and celery and juliene them, once juliened you will cut into brunoise and add to a serving bowl. You will then carefully strain the contents of the consomme through a cheesecloth, and then heat for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or so to make sure it is very hot, if desired and to get out any additional impurities. Then strain through cheesecloth once again. Your consomme should be a very clear, light, and amber in color. Add to the serving bowls, and serve. This is a delicious recipe, and I have made it many times. It is worth the effort.