Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Consomme Madrilene

Chilled Consomme with Red Peppers and Tomatoes.

For this week's lesson from Le Cordon Bleu at Home we created the Consomme Madrilene on pages 267, 268. This was my first consomme, chilled or otherwise. I was surprised at how much flavour it had and also at some of the ingredients. I knew consommes had egg white to filter them but was surprised at the ground beef.

This soup was not as difficult as I had thought and I had chicken stock left over from the last soups. This got heated up with some salt and I made the melange of egg white, vegetables, ground beef and herbs. A little stock and water gets added to the mix and it goes into the stock. The whole pot gets stirred and the bottom scraped with a wooden spoon just until it comes to a boil and then it simmers for 45 minutes to an hour. I chose the lesser time as I made a half batch. The soup is then filtered carefully and chilled. When ready, it gets poured into bowls that contain par-cooked red pepper and fresh tomatoes, diced. Garnish with fresh chervil or parsley and you are done.

I made this for dinner last night, heeding hubby's request to follow it up with something more substantial. He is a great eater and loves my kitchen experiments but he also gets quite hungry after being at work all day and wasn't convinced that chilled consomme would satisfy. So, after our lovely little course of consomme, I made a big tray of nachos. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I am glad that I made this soup as I have never made anything like it before. I don't know if I would make it again as it is quite wasteful. All the flavouring ingredients get pitched into the compost bin when the soup is strained.

I have been reading MFK Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf this week and came upon this timely passage: " the time you have taken a day off and assembled the necessary ingredients and used enough fuel to braise them, simmer them, boil them, and clarify them properly, you have spent a fair portion of the week's food budget. The result is good, but Man should not live on consomme alone, and if you make the stock as you are told to, there will be very little money left for anything else."

Making the soup clear is impressive, I might make it for my mother one day, but my waste-not want-not sensibility cringes at the fact that I removed the bulk of the soup and had to create another meal to fill my family.

Whisk Wednesdays follows the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary program as organized by Whisk: a food blog. Check out Whisk for step by step instructions on the soup and to see how she and the others fared.