- Date: Saturday, November 21, 2009 -- 7pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our New House!
- Dining Companions: Matty, Brad, Deniz, Karen H, and Dave
- Recipe Rating: A-
I made this as a second course for dinner when my in-laws visited a couple weeks ago. The idea behind consomme is to start with stock and clarify it. They say you should be able to clearly see a dime at the bottom of a gallon of consomme. Indeed, it should be very clear. Before I went to culinary school if you had asked me how one clarifies stock to make consomme I would have guessed various straining techniques. But, in school I learned the actual method. I was startled (and a little disgusted), and I certainly didn't believe it would work. But it does! Even now, after having made consomme several times, it still amazes me. Here's how it goes: I started by heating some homemade Veal Stock. Then in a separate bowl I whisked together egg whites, crushed up egg shells, chopped up tomatoes and celery, ground beef, salt, and crushed peppercorns. That delicious mix of things looked like this:
Mmmm... egg shells and beef. What happens to this slop? It gets stirred into the beautiful homemade veal stock. Yup, I whisked that nastiness into my stock in order to clarify it. Mysterious, no? I whisked in the beef and egg shell mixture, stirring constantly until the stock simmered. Then I let it simmer without stirring for a half an hour. What happens is that all that nastiness hardens into a crust, called the raft, on top of the soup. What is left underneath is wonderfully clear. I ladled the soup into a sieve lined with damp paper towels and let the liquid drain through. Then I boiled and seasoned the liquid, then served it topped with the Tiny Choux Puffs, which I already blogged about.
The result: delicious consomme! It had an intense beef flavor and a wonderful mouth feel from the veal bones that went into the stock. It was very clear, just like it should be. And the tiny choux puffs were a tasty and elegant addition. My only complaint was that it was a bit salty. When I seasoned it I didn't even add any additional salt, but the salt that went into the raft mixture was already a bit too much. Were I to make it again I would cut back on the salt that I added at that stage so I would have more control over the saltiness at the end. Aside from that it was a very good rendition of beef comsomme and I would use this recipe again.
The recipe is here.
Driving back to Indiana first thing this morning from my in-laws' house in Ohio, I had this weird feeling. For a long time I couldn't pinpoint what it was, but I felt very different than I have lately. About an hour into my drive I identified the feeling: I felt refreshed! I felt invigorated! I felt awake! I don't know if it was all the holiday fun this weekend, or the good food I ate. Maybe it was sleeping 8 hours a night. Maybe it was spending a whole week with my husband, which I haven't done since August. Maybe it was taking a few days off of work, not thinking about my research or my classes. I don't know. But whatever it was, this long weekend left me feeling rejuvenated. It was just the push I needed for these last two weeks of the semester!