Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rosie Makes Chicken Stock. And Then Chicken Consommé.

It's a cold, gray, rainy, stay-inside day here on the Outer Banks.
It's a chicken stock kind of day.

Whenever I cook chicken, I save all the bones.
And when I get the itch,
I scratch it by making chicken stock,
then magically turn the redolent stock
 into a glistening, clear consommé.

I found some frozen chicken parts.
Threw 'em in a large stock pot.
I'm using a twelve quart pot.

My aromatics:

Smash the garlic
and add it with skins on to the pot.

I don't bother to peel the carrots.
Coarse-chop and add to the pot.

Coarse-chop the celery.

Handful of whole peppercorns in.

Kosher salt in.

Add water to cover by several inches.
Would you have known that was a stream of water?

I don't bother to peel the onions either.
Just coarse-chop.

I added in some fresh bay leaves.
If you're using dry,
2-3 are enough.

Fresh thyme in.

I put the pot over high heat
brought it to a simmer.

I let it barely bubble
for about 4 hours.
It ain't etched in stone.

Every 20-30 minutes or so,
go in a skim the scum and fat off the top.

This has cooked down a bit.
I still ended up with 5 1/2 quarts of consommé.

Taste test.
Add salt if needed.

I poured the stock through a colander.
Discard the aromatics;
they've given up their all.
This is not waste.
If you like,
add the celery and carrots to the dog bowl.
Beau loves this.
Let cool,
cover with plastic wrap touching the surface,
 and refrigerate.
Any fat will come to the surface
and you can peel it off when it congeals

I left this in the fridge overnight
and took it out the next day to make consommé.

Just to show you what chicken stock looks like.
It is cloudy and has a lot of particulate matter in it.

This is what's left after pouring through a sieve.
You want to get as much of this out to begin with.

Now, let's make chicken consommé.
I'll go through the process for you first,
then show you the step by steps.

 A consommé is a sparkling clear broth.  All the floating particles that cloud the stock have been drawn off.  The clarified liquid is not only lovely to look at, but it has also acquired a refinement in taste.  The clarification process involves egg whites.  The ratio is 5 cups stock to 1/2 cup egg whites. I started out with around 5 quarts stock.  You do the math.  That's a lot of egg whites.  That means I have lots of yolks left over.  That means I'll be making lots of stuff calling for egg yolks in the coming days.  Some sweets treats are in your future.  

Back to the consommé:
Going with the above ratio, whisk 1 cup cold stock with the egg whites while bringing the rest of the stock to the simmer.  Remove from heat and whisk 1 cup of the hot stock by slowly drizzling into the egg white mixture.  Then slowly whisk the egg white mixture into the stock pot of hot stock.

Set over moderate heat and whisk slowly to keep the egg white in constant but gently circulation.  Bring just to the simmer.  Stop whisking.  The egg whites have clung to the particles that cloud the stock and will rise to the surface.  They now need to coagulate enough so that when you strain the stock, the egg whites hold together, letting the clear liquid drip through.  Set the pan at the side of the heat so the stock barely bubbles.  Let it barely bubble for 5 minutes.  Rotate a quarter turn and let it barely bubbly for another 5 minutes. Repeat in each quadrant.  Remove from heat.

On to the straining.  Be sure the bottom of your sieve will be well above the level of liquid.  I like to try to remove the coagulated egg whites on top, then I gently ladle the liquid into a fine sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth.  Let the liquid drip through undisturbed.  Never try to push on the cheesecloth, else you'll push the cloudy bits through.  I pour the stock into quart containers, label, and freeze.
Cold stock going into my egg whites.

Whisk away.

Whisk hot stock into egg whites.

Slowly drizzle the egg white mixture into the hot stock.

Keep the the egg whites in gently but constant circulation.

When the mixture comes to a simmer, stop whisking and ...

... set the pan to the side.
Let barely bubble 5 minutes,
then rotate to the next quadrant for 5 minutes,
and repeat two more times.

Have your sieve and cheesecloth ready.

I ladled out a bunch of the egg foam first.

And just lookie-lookie what's underneath all those nasty bits!

This is what you want.

All you have left is the egg foam with the particles captured.

From this ...

To this.
A lovely, clear consommé.

Those are my Zombie and Bin Laden targets
in the background Youngest Hawthorne
lovingly gave his Mama for her birthday.
Gotta love those Hawthorne Boys.
They gave me a sweet little gun for Christmas.

Five and a half quarts of golden goodness.

Stay tuned.
Tomorrow I'm making beef consommé.


Mel said...

Rosie, I don't think I have ever properly thanked you for teaching me what consomme is AND how to make it. I have always made chicken stock to keep on hand since I lived at my parents' house as a teenager. You have taught me (and my parents) how to take it to the next level! It's a crappy weather day here in FLA and I have another pot of consomme finishing up, right now.

I thank you. All my family does, as well.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Mel, thank you! I love comments like this. I hope you will try beef consomme as well.

And if you're adventurous, try pho!

Thank you again. Your comment made my day!

Mel said...

Aww! I actually deleted some of my last comment, I didn't want it to be too long, but....

I have done a beef consomme, once. It was actually just as awesome as the chicken, that I now do regularly. The beef was, unfortunately, lost in an unexpected electrical mishap in our new home before it could be used. (read that like: previously built home that was wired by a fool. Freezer unfroze. Good thing I have an electrician on staff!)

Anyway, tomorrow is supposed to be another icky day and I have soup bones ready to roast. I have my sight fixed on pho!

Seriously though, thank you. I don't have the words to tell you how much your blog means to me.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank YOU, Mel. You have my email address, don't you?

Ask me anything.

I don't have the words to tell you what your comments mean to me!

Thank you.