Last night was my 3rd class in Concepts and Theories of Classical Techniques. We talked about soups, which may sound boring, but is way funner to talk about than how to make stock or broth. And even yummier than sauces because you aren't supposed to eat sauces alone (although I have been known to eat spaghetti sauce right out of the pot minus the pasta). And while we were going over the different kinds of soups, they were preparing something delicious in one of the lab kitchens next door. So, basically, my mouth watered for 3 hours while I snacked on my Luna bar and drank water.
I thought it would be fun to give you guys some of the recipes my Chef is giving us. Now, keep in mind, I am not actually making any of this stuff yet because I am not in the lab until next quarter. But these are directly from a Chef that has been in the business for 15 years, traveled the world and worked with Chef Mario Batali, so I'll pretty much take his word on it.
I will try and explain as much as I can, but if I do a crappy job, just email me and I'll try and explain it better.
Beef or Chicken Consomme
1 Gallon Beef or Chicken Stock, (homemade is preferred, of course)
-Stock should be cold, not warm or fresh from the stove
10 Egg Whites, lightly frothed (not stiff)
3 Pounds Ground Chicken or Ground Beef
-Use a lean meat, you don't want to add fat to the stock or you won't end up with a clear consomme. Chef says grinding your own is best, but if you can find ground chicken breast or ground beef that is from lean cuts, that should be fine. Most butchers will grind fresh meat for you if you ask.
1 Pound Mirepoix, Julienne cut works best
-1/2 pound onions, 1/4 pound carrots, 1/4 pound celery
-10 whole peppercorns, 6 pieces parsley stems, 2 pieces thyme (stems and leaves), and 1 bay leaf. Put in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine.
1/2 Onion Brulee
-Cut onion in half and torch the hell out of the open side. You only need half the onion.
Small amount fresh cut tomatoes
Combine mirepoix, egg whites, and ground meat/poultry in a metal bowl. Use your hands to work the eggs over all surfaces of mirepoix and meat for 20-30 seconds.
Take cold stock, put in narrow, tall pot and add cold meat mixture and mix all around. Add sachet, onion Brulee, and tomatoes.
Turn heat to medium and slowly heat, stirring gently with wooden spoon often. When it hits 135-140 degrees, stop stirring so the proteins can form a raft. Let SIMMER (you never, ever, ever boil a stock or broth, you will never get it clear if you boil it) for 35 minutes. You will need to gently poke a hole in the middle of the raft in order to baste the top and so it won't boil over the pot.
After 35 minutes, take off heat. Put some damp cheesecloth in a chinois (these are expensive, so if you don't have one, use a fine mesh strainer, and put a coffee filter over the cheesecloth), and gently strain, ladle full by ladle full. Be careful not to break the raft, you can gently press down on it to get the broth out.
Once strained, put back on stove and season to taste with salt and finely ground white pepper (remember, a consomme is a clear broth, if you add black pepper, it will ruin the presentation).
If you have any fat floating on top, you can do 2 things:
1. Let it cool completely in the fridge so the fats can harden, which makes it easier to just skim the fat off the surface.
2. Skim a paper towel over the surface of the warm stock. This should absorb into the towel. This method is kind of a quicky thing and not preferred.
I know it sounds like a huge process, but it doesn't take that long to make, and the outcome is so much better than a can of consomme you buy at the store. This is the perfect base to French onion soup, minestrone, or chicken noodle soup.
I hope you guys enjoy it. I am out of town the rest of this week, and when I get back, my brother-in-law will be in town, so I won't be able to try it out until next weekend. But I promise I'll take pictures and post them for your viewing pleasure.