Alisha Randell decides to spruce up one of the most classic French starter soups.
Text And Photo By Alisha Randell
A Consommé is a classic French starter most typically served on a multi course menu. Although Consommés are generally served as a beef or chicken soup, today we will taking this classic in a new direction. By pairing the earthiness of crimini with the sweet silkiness of plum wine, we create a vegetarian delight that will enliven the senses.
- 4 Tbs (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, halved
- 2 Tbs (60 ml) white balsamic vinegar, halved
- 8 oz (225 grams) crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large shallots, sliced
- 5 cups (1250 ml) vegetable broth, chilled
- 2 cups (500 ml) plum wine, chilled
- 2 Tbs (28.3 grams) butter
- 4-5 sprigs thyme
- 2-3 sprigs tarragon
- 2 sprigs meadow rue, optional
- 1 tsp (5 ml) pepper corns, whole
- a pinch of sea salt, course
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- ½ stalk celery, chopped
- 4 oz (115 grams) carrots, chopped
- ½ oz (15 grams) ginger, sliced
- 4-5 egg whites
- Large sock pot, large sauté pan, food processor, fine mesh sieve and cheese cloth
- Optional garnishes:
- 1 large leek, sliced and par boiled
- 2 baby carrots, shaved and par boiled
- Finishing salt to taste
- Begin by slicing mushrooms, onions and shallots as uniformly as possible. Heat half of the olive oil in a sauté pan and the other half in a stock pot. Place mushrooms in a single layer into the sauté pan while placing onions and shallots into the stock pot. Caramelize these on each side for about 2 minutes without stirring. Set aside and allow stock pot to cool.
- Place broth, wine, butter, salt, pepper corns, herbs, mushrooms and onions/shallots in a cooled stock pot and set aside.
- Place chopped tomatoes, celery, carrots and ginger in a food processor until finely chopped. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whip slightly, add vegetables and mix until incorporated.
- Add this mixture to the chilled broth mixture then bring to a boil stirring frequently. Once the mixture has come to a full boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until liquid has reduced by at least ⅓ for a single Consommé or by ½ for a double Consommé (preferred). You will begin to see a foamy crust layer at the top, do not stir or disrupt this foam know as a raft. Continuing to simmer for 1 to 1½ hours uncovered.
- Once your liquid has reduced by at least ⅓ you can push aside a small are of the raft with a spoon for a taste test. Continue to reduce further if desired.
- Now that you have reached your desired taste and consistency, begin by pushing aside your raft and ladling out your broth into a fine mesh sieve placed over a large bowl. Continue this process until you have removed all of your base broth.
- Taking another large bowl repeat this filtering process until you have a clear broth. General about 4 times. Then for final clarification process take your clean sieve and place a double layer of cheese cloth over it, running your broth though this to remove and final impurities replacing cheese cloth as necessary.
- Return your clarified broth to a clean pot and keep very hot until ready to serve, adding desired garnishes just before serving.
Alisha Randell is a former Executive Chef turned Private Chef and Culinary Instructor. She is the Co-Creator/Author of The Ardent Epicure blog “An Ode to the Pleasures of Food”. Growing up with a dad as a culinary guide, whom was as well an executive chef, food and seeing food as an art form has been a lifelong passion and exploration.