We spent the whole day making soups and clarifying our consommés but the highlight of the day was definitely my test results, a Perfect 100%! I was a little nervous this morning until I saw the test and realized that all the info actually sunk in.
First we demoed the consommé and the split pea soup and the importance of good stock was highlighted again today. We used the Marmite for the consommé and the onion soup, the veggie stock for the farmers soup, and the chicken stock for the split pea.
I didn’t even know what a consommé was before yesterday, and understand why I never really see it in any restaurants. It’s time consuming and very temperamental. Consommé is a richly flavored clarified stock and the clarification is why it’s such a delicate process. First you grab a little ground beef, some egg whites, carrots, celery and leeks. You mix it all up together add it into the stock and bring it to a simmer while mixing and scraping the pot frequently. All the impurities and fat rise to the top, once that happens you stop stirring and turn the heat down to very low. Those impurities and fat particles are called a “raft”. You let the soup cook for about 40 minutes and the raft becomes very thick. The raft is delicate and if it sinks your Consommé is garbage and you gave to start all over again.
The clear stock underneath gets gently ladled and run through a china cap lined with a cheese cloth, and then skimmed with paper towels to remove any remaining fat. The end result is a very tasty, perfectly clear broth that can be garnished a few different ways. When you change the garnish, it also changes the name of the consommé.
All in all a very busy day. We have the next four days off and I’m looking forward to my thanksgiving feast and eating myself into a food comma. We go back on Monday and start with preservation techniques, should be pretty interesting.