Consummate Consomme

Beef Consomme
Beef Consomme

With temperatures below freezing and still some snow on the ground, I’m dreaming of consomme.  Who cares if it is not even 8 a.m.!   You have to give credit to a soup that can look so simple yet makes you feel like royalty.  This is not a soup that you feed to someone with the sniffles.  This is a soup that you present as a gift. It’s laborious to make and love makes the whole process a little more enjoyable.

Your time, precious as it is, is the primary ingredient of this soup.  First you make a stock.  I made a roasted beef stock and let it simmer for close to 8 hours before straining it and storing it in the fridge.  You can make the consomme immediately after finishing the stock, but I prefer to let it sit overnight and come back to it fresh the next day. 

After making the stock, the next step is to prepare the ingredients that will be added to the stock.  These ingredients will serve two purposes.  They will clarify the stock and remove impurities and they will add flavor to it.  Finely chop two medium onions, 1 stalk of celery, and 1 carrot.  Prepare 1 tomato concasse.  I mix these ingredients with 1 lb of ground beef and about 5 egg whites.  I even crush up the egg shells and add them to the mix.  Next step is to combine these ingredients with your stock.  I use approximately 2 quarts of stock when making my consomme. 

Combine the stock and ingredients in a large enough pot and put over med-low heat.  The stock should be at room temp or colder when put on the stove.  Stir gently and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a simmer (this may take up to 20 minutes).  As soon as the mixture begins to simmer, stop stirring and let the soup simmer gently for one hour.    What’s happening at this point?  The ingredients you added are adding flavor and the albumin from the egg shells and egg whites are bringing impurities to the top.  As it simmers, you’ll notice that the ingredients have floated to the top of your soup and have formed a raft.  This is what you want to happen, so don’t try and break it up with your spoon.

At the end of the hour, gently ladle the broth out of the pot and strain the liquid through wet cheesecloth into a separate container.  When ladling the broth, do your best not to disturb the raft.  Notice anything different?  Your beef stock should have gone from cloudy in color to a brillant, translucent gold.   Now, ladle up some broth, garnish your soup with finely diced tomato concasse or carrots, and serve it to someone you love.

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