What is Consommé and How is it Made
Consommé is a strong, clear broth. It can be made with fish, meat, poultry, or vegetables. Double consommé is consommé, which has been reduced by half. As you would imagine, this liquid is very rich and flavorful.
Consommé can be served by itself as an appetizer or used in other recipes. Consommé Brunoise is a traditional French recipe and, in this dish, simmered celery, carrots, and leeks are added to a chicken or beef consommé.
Using Consommé to Make Onion Soup
Beef consommé is a key ingredient in French onion soup. The combination of caramelized onions and beef consommé is a deliciously rich one and French onion soup is served in many top restaurants throughout Europe as well as the United States.
Consommé can also be used to create a clear chicken noodle soup. This clear golden broth has noodles added at the last minute and possible some bits of chicken and vegetables too.
The Difference Between Beef Stock and Beef Consommé
If you are making French onion soup, the recipe might call for consommé or stock instead of broth, so what is the difference and can you substitute one for the other?
Beef stock is a clear liquid made by simmering beef bones and vegetables in water. Stock is used to make soups and sauces and to give flavor to other dishes. Beef broth can mean a soup or a stock. In the British sense of the word, a broth is a thick, chunky soup.
For the purpose of making an onion soup recipe, any liquid you add, whether it is broth, stock, or consommé, should be relatively clear without any bits in.
Beef consommé is a highly clarified soup, made from beef stock. It can be served as it is or used in other recipes. Consommé is usually clarified by removing the fat, straining it, and using an egg white “raft” to remove the cloudiness.
Consommé and broth are ready to eat. Stock is an ingredient in other recipes or used to make consommé. For the purpose of making onion soup, you should try to follow the recipe. If you use stock, instead of broth, you will have to add more seasoning to the French onion soup because stock is not highly seasoned. It is quite bland because it is never served by itself.
How Do You Clarify Consommé?
To clarify something means to make it clearer. The traditional way to clarify consommé is to add egg whites to cold stock, then reheat it. The impurities, which made the stock cloudy, stick to the egg white as it sets. When the stock is hot, the egg white floats to the top and becomes foamy. The next step is to push the foamy layer to the side and strain the stock. It is then any color between clear golden and dark brown. If it has been clarified properly, it is now consommé rather than stock.
Another way to clarify your beef stock and turn it into beef consommé is to use a mixture of egg white, ground beef, finely chopped vegetables and something acidic like wine, lemon juice, vinegar or tomatoes. This layer forms a foamy raft on the top of the stock but it also adds flavor to the resulting consommé.
In this photo, you can see delicious fresh vegetables, namely carrots, leeks, onions and herbs. This fresh produce is typical for creating delicious beef stock, broth and consommé recipes, and other vegetables can be used in addition to the vegetables pictured. Despite the difference between beef stock and beef consommé, fresh vegetables are what gives the liquid its delicious taste, as well as the addition of meat and bones. Freshly made beef stock or beef consommé are extremely nutritious and provide the ideal base for a French onion soup recipe.
What to Do with Broth Meat and Vegetables
If you know the difference between beef stock and beef consommé, you will know that the meat and vegetables used to give the broth its flavor are removed, leaving the consommé clear. So is it not a waste to discard the meat and vegetables? If you have used vegetables past their prime or peelings, you are not wasting anything, since you would have discarded them anyway. You can use the tender meat in casseroles, stews or other recipes though.
How Long to Simmer Broth
Some broth recipes tell you to simmer the mixture for an hour and others might say two or three days, despite the fact that they use near enough the same ingredients and have the same cooking method. So how long should you simmer beef broth? Actually, it is your choice. The longer it simmers, the richer the resulting flavor. Taste as you go.
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