Consommé

 

A clear stock-based soup, consommé is prepared from chicken, beef or veal stock, which is clarified by the addition of egg whites and vegetables. The vegetables also enhance flavour and colour.

MAKING CONSOMME

This easy method of clarifying stock uses a mixture of egg whites, a mirepoix of vegetables (roughly diced carrot, onion and celery) and an acid in the form of lemon juice. Chicken consommé is made here, but the same technique applies to making beef or veal consommé.

1. Whisk 3-4 egg whites with a fork until frothy. Add 2 tbsp lemon juice and about 350 g mirepoix.

2. Add the egg mixture to 2 litres warm stock; bring to the boil. Whisk until a crust forms, 4-6 minutes.

3. Make a hole in the crust for the liquid to simmer through. Simmer gently for about 1 hour - do not stir.

4. Line a sieve with damp muslin and hold it over a large bowl. Break the crust and ladle the consommé through the muslin. Reheat in a clean pan and garnish just before serving with a black truffle julienne and leaves of fresh chervil, as shown here. Or sprinkle with very finely diced raw vegetables, the traditional garnish.

MAKING ASPIC

Add gelatine to consommé to make aspic that is firm enough to cut decoratively into shapes as a garnish. Liquid aspic is often used to set savoury moulds, mousses and terrines, and for glazing fish, meat and poultry.

Soak gelatine leaves for 2-3 minutes in a little of the measured amount of cold consommé (allow 7 g gelatine for every 500 ml liquid). Warm the remaining consommé, then add the gelatine and its soaking liquid. Stir over a gentle heat until the gelatine has melted. Test by chilling 1 tbsp on a saucer.