Sunday, June 15, 2008

Soup's On!

Consommé Printanier is made from white beef stock (marmite) and a clarification process. The marmite is already prepared for us and heated up, we are required to prep and measure out the clarification ingredients that include ground beef, egg whites, leeks, carrots and celery, crushed peppercorns for flavor, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.

Mix the clarification mixture together in a bowl, add some cooled marmite to make what resembles a very wet meatloaf. The clarification mixture goes back into the stock pot and is brought up to a boil while stirring constantly.

Once the proteins in the meat and egg start to coagulate and the mixture comes together at the top of the stock pot a raft will form. This is when you stop stirring and pay close attention to the raft. Careful not to break the raft and once it has set nudge through it to make a hole in the center with a ladle. The raft with a hole will clarify the stock and remove the impurities leaving a crystal clear broth.

The stock is reduced to a simmer once it comes to a boil and it is left to cook for an hour. At this point I cut the vegetables and cook the garniture consisting of a macédoine of carrots & turnips, string beans, and peas. Each vegetable is cooked separately and shocked with ice water to stop the cooking process.

Once the clarified stock has simmered for an hour, it is taken off the stove to cool for about 15 minutes. The Consommé is then strained using a chinois and cheesecloth into a large bowl. I carefully ladle the stock through the hole I created and I try not to disturb the raft.

At this point the Consommé needs to be degreased of all fat that floats on the top. Using parchment paper, I run through a couple of sheets over the top of the soup to grab the fat off the surface. Parchment works very well but I need to repeat the process until all I have left is a degreased sparkling Consommé with a golden amber color. At this point if the Consommé has cooled it must go back into a clean stock pot, heated through and seasoned with salt.

The vegetables are heated up in a little Consommé and then added to the soup that is placed in very hot bowls on top of plates lined with doilies. I beckon Chef to come by and taste the Consommé, he feels the rim of the bowl to make sure it is hot enough, dips his soup into the soup and samples the Consommé. The result: Chef thinks the broth is well-seasoned, the vegetables are cooked properly but my macédoine could be more exact. A macédoine is a perfect half centimeter square – not the easiest thing to slice with a huge chef’s knife. Practice makes perfect and I know ultimately I will get it right.

No comments: