Thursday, October 18, 2012

Consommé Macédoine

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For the 3rd soup in what I’ve dubbed “Soup Madness 2012”, I made a consommé macédoine (or as a friend of mine referred to it, Minecraft Soup). Consommé means “completed” or “concentrated” in French, which is a pretty accurate way to describe this one. The flavor of it is very rich and concentrated in a remarkably clear broth. Macédoine refers to the cut of the garnish vegetables that go into the soup – leek, carrot, and celery, all cut into 4mm x 4mm x 4mm cubes (or in the leek’s case, just 4mm x 4mm).

There are a lot of elements to work with in this soup, but if you’re careful and patient, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with it.

Difficulty: Moderate
Active Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Prep Time: 1 hour
Special Equipment: Fine mesh strainer (or chinois), coffee filter
Serves: 2

Broth Ingredients:

  • 3 - 5 ounces ground meat (beef or chicken preferable)
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ of a large carrot, chopped (about 2 - 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (about 2 - 3 tablespoons)
  • ½ onion, chopped (about 3 - 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste

Garnish Ingredients:

  • 1 - 2 tablespoons carrot, macédoine cut
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons celery, macédoine cut
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons leek, macédoine cut

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1. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Whip for about 30 seconds, or until frothy.

2. Add the meat into the whipped egg and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the carrot, onion, celery, tomato, and tomato paste. Mix well, then add the chicken stock and mix for another 30 seconds.

4. Pour the mixture into a medium sauce pot, add the thyme and bay leaf, and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture every minute or so, and be sure it never boils.

5. After about 5 – 10 minutes, stop mixing the contents of the pot and let it sit for 30 minutes. Once again, do not let it boil – only a gentle simmer at the most. During this time, chop your garnish vegetables and set aside.

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6. After about 30 minutes, the meat and egg white mixture will have formed a “raft” on top of the broth. Sprinkle on some peppercorns, then test the consistency of the raft with your finger to make sure it’s relatively sturdy, and not loose.

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7. Carefully cut or scoop out a hole in the middle of the raft (my instructor calls this a “blowhole”). Use the blowhole to taste. If it needs salt, season the raft, not the broth directly. The salt will be absorbed and the flavor will be drawn into the broth through the raft. Continue simmering over low heat, seasoning as necessary, until it’s very flavorful.

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8. Set up a clean pot with a fine mesh strainer and coffee filter over it. Set aside.

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8. When the broth’s flavor has reached the desired level of concentration, place the prepared pot and strainer on a burner over low heat and carefully ladle the broth into it. Change the coffee filter as needed, but be sure not to let any solids through the strainer. Add the garnish vegetables to the pot.

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9. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes over low heat, then serve in a warm bowl.

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