Its been a long weekend. The poor consomme had its starts and stops….first was the building of the brown stock.
FYI, Cold water is one of the secrets to a clear stock. After that I got my mirepoix in the stock pot, brought it up to a simmer, then had to leave home! ugh. My son had a boy scout mtg, the stock had to simmer for 8 hrs. sigh. It turned out OK though. I left my very capable 14 yr old daughter in charge of the simmering. When I returned home, I carefully ladled the stock out, put it in the fridge to cool over night so I could de-fat it in the morning. The next morning, I prepared the mise en place for the consomme. That was an interesting experience. You beat egg whites, and add those and raw ground beef to the cold stock (along with the standard mirepoix) and bring it up to simmer. The egg whites and the ground beef form a “raft” that the stock bubbles through and the raft catches the particles for the final clear consomme.
Again, I got half way through the 1 1/2 hrs of simmering and had to leave, so into the garage refrigerator the “consomme-to-be” went, and I drove my son to his Boy Scout Klondyke. The following day I thought about my “consomme-to-be” often, as I and the girls left the house at 8:30am to head to a 4-h mtg, then off to watch the final ceremony of the Klondyke. I didn’t get back to my “consomme-to-be” until yesterday (Sunday.) By then it had become this huge undertaking, the expectations I had developed were way the heck “up there.” This dang soup better be worth it!
After church, I came home and fiddled around here and there. Working on some quilted pot-holders for myself (I made a bunch to give at Christmas, but didn’t keep any) and figured I’d get dinner going about 4pm. uh huh. Sounds like a good plan. I thought I’d serve the consomme for the first course then move into the Poule Chicken with mushroom and pearl onions. I read the recipe for the Poule chicken and, 4pm still seemed “do-able.” uh huh. As I read I realized the sauce needed a demi glaze. 2 pints to be exact. I didn’t have any left, so I needed to make more. No biggie. The demi glaze is 1/2 brown stock, 1/2 brown sauce. I had brown sauce frozen, but no stock. So I figured while I am sewing I can let a brown stock simmer. done. So I actually began preparing dinner more like at 1pm if you count the stock building. I am thinking it may be a good idea to have someone else read the same recipe you are preparing, just to see if you miss some important bit of info. Like perhaps, the recipe read: 2, 2.8-3lb chickens, which will roast for 1.5hrs at 325. 4pm, still seems like a good time to get them in the oven. So I stayed “on plan.” Got the birds trussed, massaged with clarified butter, got the matignon prepared (a batch of sauteed mirepoix in slab bacon and used as the roasting rack that the birds would sit on in the pan) and into the oven they went.
I clarified the brown stock, added the brown sauce and let it reduce by half for the demi glaze. Meanwhile I was going back and forth into my bedroom sewing and cutting, coming out to baste and gently stir…It was 5:30. the birds were NO WHERE near being done. hm. let ’em go for another 1/2 hour and get the consomme out of the fridge to start heating it. 30 min. later, still not much movement on the thermometer in my birds. huh. Re-read the recipe, as now its been 2 hrs. Nothing jumps out at me. Another half hour later, and we still ahve 20 degrees to raise the meat temp. in my birds. What the heck is up? Now its nearly twice as long as the recipe says. Maybe its my oven. It is electric after all and I am sure the text book and course authors have gas ranges and ovens in mind. By 7pm I am at my wits end. We are all HUNGRY! I decide to take the lid off the roasting pan and crank the heat by 10 degrees. Now we’re at 335 degrees. Not a big deal, but I didn’t want to stray from the technique I was to be learning..the “poule-ing” of the chickens. Finally, at 7:30 I took the birds out, placed them in the warming drawer and I added white wine to the roasting pan, scraped up the brown-bits and reduced it by half. Added my 2 pints of demi galze and heated through. Plated everything up and called the family to dinner by 8pm! sheesh. It was too bad because anything would have tasted good by then. I think we inhaled the food! The kids loved it to say the least. I had poured their conommes into little fancy tea cups to try and I am proud to say that each of them finished their cups! The consomme was everything it was meant to be, I think! Never actually having any in a restaurant before to compare to I don’t know how it should taste, but I can say, it was deeply “beefy” flavored and very clear and yet substantial.
The Poule Chicken with mushrooms and pearl onions was VERY tasty too. I have to say, the chicken was extremely moist but the sauce was out of this world! I am so happy that we have leftovers in the fridge, waiting for lunch service. I am thinking with more time to savor on stomachs that aren’t growling it will be very tasty indeed! Oh, the reason for the twice as long cooking time?? My chickens were TWICE as big as called for the recipe! They were nearly 6lb each! So, maybe had someone else read the recipe they would have caught that mild detail! humph! Lesson humbly learned.
Today I have white stock simmering on the stove for the next 6 hours. Using the bones my butcher got me as well as the bones from last night’s dinner. Tonight will be cream of broccoli soup, using my veloute sauce as part of the base….