I made this for my last supperclub, my own recipe but following the traditional method… It’s a stunning thing to serve with ravioli (which i did), a crystal clear broth with pasta dumplings floating in it. It’s not difficult to make so long as you keep a couple of things in mind:
- Flavour: You need a strongly flavored stock to make it, the clarifying process removes all impurities and with them a lot of the taste of the stock. The choice of meat used in the “raft” is important since this will impart some flavor back into the finished dish.
- Color: If you don’t want the consommé to look like water, you need to make sure that your stock is well colored; roast the bones, let them burn a bit, get everything well browned.
- The raft: The raft is what you use to clarify the stock; it’s a blend of meat, vegetables and egg whites. You add it to the cold stock, stir well and let it come to the simmer GENTLY, over about 20 minutes. As the stock warms up, the proteins in the egg whites wrap around all the debris in the stock and finally coagulate and float to the surface. This process takes about an hour and should be left to bubble on the lowest setting.
- Straining: my early attempts at consommé tended to taste like whatever i strained them through. Not good especially if you’ve washed your muslin with Persil. No sieve is fine enough, the consommé must be strained through material to get it really clear, and i actually found a solution by lining a sieve with 3 layers of kitchen paper… the paper is supported by the sieve so doesn’t break apart.
With this in mind, you can adjust this recipe to use whichever meat you like…
For the stock
3.5kg game bones (i couldn’t get as much as i needed so i used about 2.5kg beef/1kg duck and pigeon)
1 stick celery
1 bulb of garlic
3 bay leaves
bunch of thyme
1 bottle red wine, something heavy but not oaked e.g. Côtes du Rhône
3 or 4 liters of water
For the raft
500g minced venison, pigeon and duck
3 cloves of garlic
4 egg whites
roughly chop all the veg, slice the bulb of garlic horizontally and put everything in the biggest roasting tray you have. Add the bones, season with pepper only and roast on 200 degrees for about an hour until well colored with crispy bits of meat. a lot of the fat will be rendered out during this process, this you can keep for saute potatoes etc…
Transfer the bones and veg to a very large pan, deglaze the roasting tray with the bottle of red wine, make sure to scrape all the crispy bits off and when done pour over the bones.
Top the pan up with water until everything is covered, boil and simmer for about 4 hours. When done, lift out the bones and strain the stock through a sieve into a clean pan and leave to cool overnight.
To clarify the stock; place the raft ingredients into a food processor and blend to a fine paste. Stir this into the cold stock and stir in well with a wooden spoon (whatever you do, don’t use a whisk). When it’s all mixed in, place on a medium heat and gently bring it up to simmer. You’ll start to see small clumps popping up to the surface, eventually these will cover the surface and set as a crust. when this starts happening, drop the heat to the lowest setting and leave for one hour.
Line a sieve with three layers of kitchen paper and rest on top of a clean bowl. Use a slotted spoon to gently lift away a part of the raft big enough to get a ladle in. Now start ladling the consommé through the sieve.
the finished consommé can be served right away (but seriously who’s going to do this just before serving???) or left to cool and reheated. When you reheat it do not boil or you will get a white froth on top.