|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||5%|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 8mg||39%|
|*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.|
A clear, deep gold chicken consommé is delightful not only to look at, but tasting it is another story altogether: The flavor is divine. Consommé is a soup that is typically consumed on its own, at the start of a meal. And although it sounds fancy, don't let the French name scare you (or the translation, which roughly means it is the consummate, complete, or finished soup). This easy recipe makes good use of a leftover chicken carcass (and lots of veggies) from dinner. If you don't have a carcass, then use a couple of chicken legs and wings.
Consommé does take some time, patience, and attention to detail; it's typically something that chefs must master during their training in culinary school. However, it's not hard to do. It's an acquired skill, one that involves using egg whites to help create a natural filter, or raft, that forms over the soup.
There are some lovely light chicken soups and stocks that you can make, such as a traditional Scottish cock-a-leekie soup, but none have the same depth of flavor as a consommé. It is usually served hot but not boiling hot and garnished with julienned vegetables. It is just as enjoyable on its own without a garnish.
1 cooked chicken carcass, skin and fat removed
1 medium onion, skin on, halved
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
Small handful fresh tarragon
Large handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks
1 bay leaf
3 large egg whites
2 to 3 drops Kitchen Bouquet (or other gravy-browning liquid)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
In a large stock or saucepan large enough to hold the carcass and all the vegetables, place the carcass, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, tarragon, parsley, and bay leaf.
Cover with cold water and bring to a gentle, rolling boil.
Simmer at a gentle boil for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If the water starts to boil away, add more because the ingredients must be covered in water.
Taste the stock after the allotted cooking time. It should have a good flavor of chicken and a background hint of the vegetables and herbs. If not, cook a while longer.
Strain the stock through a large colander, discarding the solids.
Return the liquid to the pan. Bring back to a boil and reduce by approximately a quarter.
Allow the liquid to cool down, then refrigerate for 1 hour.
Skim any fat from the surface.
Then add the egg whites and whisk thoroughly.
Bring the liquid to a boil, whisking all the time. If you want a darker consommé, then add the optional Kitchen Bouquet.
Simmer gently, without stirring, for 15 minutes until the egg whites form a crust on the surface, called a "raft."
Line a sieve with a piece of clean, unused muslin or a tea towel that has been washed in plain water (see tip below). Gently ladle the crust into the sieve and then slowly ladle the liquid over the crust, allowing time for the liquid to pass through the crust and sieve before adding any more. Do not push the stock through, or it will make the consommé cloudy.
Return the clear liquid to the pan and reheat to hot but not boiling. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. This soup is best served warm to hot (not boiling) as it intensifies the flavor. Cold consommés are not as tasty.
What Is the Difference Between Broth and Consommé?
It's easy to confuse these two food items, as their ingredients and uses are very similar, but the process is different. When meats, veggies, and herbs are boiled in water, broth is what remains. Consommé, on the other hand, is the resultant liquid when stock is clarified through the use of egg whites. The point of consommé is to enjoy it as its own consummate, or perfect soup, whereas broth (and stock, for that matter) is typically the liquid to which other ingredients are added to make a soup or stew, or it is used as flavorful cooking liquid in its own right, as you would with making risotto, for example.
- Because of the delicate flavor of this soup, muslin or a tea towel washed in detergent will pass the taste on to the consommé. Always use a new piece of muslin if you can.
How to Store Consommé
Whether you are reheating the soup, or you aren't serving the consommé immediately, cool it and refrigerate until required.
Reheat the soup so that it's hot but not boiling, divide among six hot soup plates, and garnish as desired. Serve immediately.