Beef Consommé

Beef consommé

The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
386 Calories
19g Fat
2g Carbs
50g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 386
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 176mg 59%
Sodium 631mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 50g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 638mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Consommé, also known as the king of broths, is a rich, clear, and flavorful clarified broth that can be made from any animal protein. Usually served as a course in itself, this traditional preparation dates back to the Middle Ages and was usually eaten by the wealthy, who could afford the ingredients. The liquid, not any of the solids, is the only component of the dish that's eaten. This recipe makes a delectable and silky bowl of succulent, clarified beef broth that can be enjoyed hot as a light supper or as a small serving during a cold winter afternoon.

The technique needed for perfect consommé is as interesting as it is easy to master, but it does require a whole lot of patience because the ingredients will yield the flavor at their best when left undisturbed for the right amount of time. A mixture of ground beef, egg whites, eggshells, and vegetables is left to simmer in veal stock. Once the meat floats to the top, bound together by the egg whites, the most important part of the simmering process begins. This so-called "raft" will stay on top of the pot, and the liquid simmering at the bottom will be the consommé, enriched by the flavors of everything that floats above. Not disturbing this raft is key, and the clarity of the consommé is also what differentiates it from a simple broth. Although not all recipes call for it, it's said that adding the eggshells to the pot helps clarify the broth and gives the raft more structure.

We use homemade veal stock for the best flavor, but an organic store-bought beef broth will do in a pinch. Choose a lean cut of beef, as the rendered fat will need to be removed, jeopardizing the clarity of your final consommé. Sirloin, shank, or shoulder are your best bets for the meat because they're flavorful and low in fat. As the eggshells will also be part of the simmering process, choose organic pastured-raised eggs.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed

  • 4 large egg whites, plus eggshells

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered

  • 4 celery ribs, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 pound premium ground sirloin, or shank or shoulder 

  • 6 cups cold veal stock, or beef stock

  • 1 sprig thyme

  • 2 teaspoons salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for beef consommé
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  2. In a big ceramic bowl, whisk the peppercorns, egg whites, and eggshells until the mixture turns foamy. Reserve.

    Foamy egg whites in a bowl
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  3. Pulse together in a food processor the tomatoes, celery ribs, and ground beef. Pulse until it's just incorporated.

    Beef and vegetables in food processor
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  4. In a large stockpot, combine the vegetable-beef mixture and the egg mixture, with the veal stock, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

    Simmering broth in stockpot
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  5. Once all the solids have formed the raft on top, remove a piece of the raft on the side to allow you to see if all the impurities have risen to the top of the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer, without stirring, for 30 to 40 minutes. Do not disturb the raft as this might make your consommé cloudy.

    Beef broth in pot
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  6. Once the cooking time is done, remove the pot from the heat and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Discard the solids. Alternatively, ladle out all the consommé at the bottom by gently and slowly pressing the hole in the raft. In this version, you will also need to strain the liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. If your strained consommé still has particles in it, pass it through a clean cheesecloth again.

    Meat draining in fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  7. Serve hot and enjoy.

    Beef consommé in bowl
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

What Does Consommé Mean?

In French, the term consommé means "completed," which hundreds of years ago when this flavorful preparation originated signified a process rather than the dish itself. The simmering of a broth with vegetables and aromatics was completed when a clear and full-bodied liquid was obtainable. The rich and concentrated flavor differentiated the broth from the consommé. The elaborate process of making it plus the number of ingredients it needed were also indicators of the wealth and status of the ones eating it. Thus, many classic recipes have names of people and places where these delicious preparations were made and eaten.