This term was posted following far too many evenings watching Great British Menu for comic relief. Consommé was one of the elements in Stephanie’s humorous dish: Why did the chicken cross the road?
She placed the watery mixture into a whisky-like glass and her first batch was commented to not be clear enough, which it seemed was a bad thing. But what is it exactly?
Consommé is a strong, rich, flavourful soup made by concentrating and clarifying stock.
The word consommé means “completed” or “concentrated” in French.
Beef or veal consommé is made from brown stock, and has a rich, amber color. Chicken consommé is made from chicken stock, and is a pale yellow color. In each case, however, the distinguishing characteristics of a consommé are its strong flavor and its clarity.
Consommé is clarified through a process that involves simmering the stock along with a mixture of egg whites and lean ground meat called a clearmeat.
As the consommé simmers, the clearmeat solidifies into what is known as a raft which floats atop the liquid. The clearmeat draws proteins and other impurities that cloud a stock out of the liquid, leaving it perfectly clear.