Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rosie Cleans Out Her Freezer And Makes Another Batch Of Consomme.

When frozen objects start falling out of the freezer drawer and on to my floor, it's time to do a little cleaning. I found 3 bags of frozen chicken parts so looks like I'll be making stock. Yes, I know I've blogged this before. Actually, several times, but it's a lesson one needs to learn, so I'm repeating it. If you haven't tasted homemade stock, you just don't know what you're missing.
First I dumped my chicken parts in a potful of water.
And coarse chopped celery, carrots, and onions. Now, are you thinking that it's a waste to throw out perfectly good celery, carrots, and onions after they've given up their lives for a noble cause? Well, don't worry about my wasting the celery and carrots. Dixie loves tender, slow-cooked celery and carrots.
I had some lemon grass in the fridge so I thought, "Why not add this too?" Lemon grass needs a good pounding first.
All the veggies went into the stock pot
along with salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves.
I brought the water up to a bare simmer,
never boiling. If you boil, you'll get more impurities in your stock. I started this at about 9 in the morning.
And here's the stock after pouring it through a colander. About 7 pm. Next, I poured it through cheesecloth to get the nasty bits out.
Since there was no room in the fridge and the temperature here is in the low thirties I let it sit outside for a couple of days, until I had time today to make the consomme. It was in the shade the whole time, I just set it on the table for the photo op.
Brought it in this morning and the fat has all congealed on top. Here's a tip I forgot about: When you refrigerate your stock, place plastic wrap on the surface of the stock, then place the lid on. When the fat congeals, you can just peal off the plastic and the fat adheres to it.
Since I forgot that little step, I just had to ladle it out. You can see here how much cleaner the stock is than it was before I poured it through the cheese cloth.
Now begins the clarification of my stock. Julia Child recommends 4 egg whites for 5 cups stock. I'm estimating I have probably 1 gallon of stock. So I used 14 egg whites. Yeah, I know. Now, I've got to use up all those yolks. Not to worry. I'll be making a caramel flan tonight which will make a dent in them.
I whupped the whites, then added in about 2 cups of cold stock, whisking well. I brought the stock to a simmer, then added 2 cups of the hot stock to the egg mixture, dribbling it in, whisking the whole time.
Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the hot stock. Yes, you are correct. There is no whisk in the picture. I only have two hands and chose the pouring not the whisking.
Keep the sauce pan over moderate heat, whisking slowly to keep the whites in constant circulation.
Bring just to the simmer and stop whisking.
And yes. That's not a whisk either. It's my wooden spatula, one of my favorite utensils.
The whites will have clung to the bits clouding the stock and will rise to the surface.
The whites need to coagulate firmly now so that when you strain the stock, the egg whites will hold together, allowing the clear liquid to drip through. Set the pan at the side of the heat, so the stock barely bubbles in that quadrant. Let it barely bubble for 5 minutes. Rotate a quarter turn and repeat for 5 minutes. Then two more rotations.
I like to carefully remove the coagulated whites at this point.
Then I pour the stock, which is now consomme, through several layers of cheese cloth lining my sieves. Be sure the bottom of the sieve is well above the level of the liquid.
My consomme, with steam wafting off.
Beautiful, clear, sparkling liquid. And delicious, with a depth of flavor and flavorful nuances that you just have to make it and taste it to believe.
I ended up with 3 quarts and a pint of liquid gold, my friends.

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