Note: This is a simple stockpot soup made of blanched* meat and fowl, cooked with vegetables and served with traditional side dishes. It is made with care to obtain a rich, clear, well-flavored consomme***.
Garnishes and Seasonings
The Side Dishes
1. The Meat
Split the chicken, gizzards, and trim the beef, veal and oxtails most of their fat. Cover with cold salted water. Bring to boil. Throw away water. This is called blanching. Wash the chicken and beef well, and rinse the pot. Return chicken and beef to the pot.
2. The Vegetables
Peel and trim all the vegetables while the meat and chicken are blanching. Be sure to split the leeks 3/4 the way through and rinse them well, as they suck up dirt. Use only the white and light green parts of the leeks.
Tie all the peelings and the stems of the parsley and dill as well as the parsnip tops in a cheesecloth bag.
Cut the carrots, parsnips and celery into 2 inch pieces and cover the vegetables and trimmings with cold water and cook for 20 minutes. Strain, and use this vegetable stock to cover the blanched meat and chicken in step 1.
If there is not enough vegetable stock to cover the blanched meats add cold water to cover them.
3. If you have marrow bones, wrap them in rinsed cheesecloth and add them to the pot with the meats to cook. Add the trimmed vegetables. If you feel they need more cooking, add them to the pot and remove them when tender enough to suit your taste. Now you will have the blanched meats and trimmed vegetables in the pot, covered by the vegetable stock.
4. Bring to the boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Skim any scum that rises to the surface. Continue skimming throughout the process. Simmer gently.
5. As things get done, remove them to a platter on the side. They will get done in this order...
Be sure the beef is tender and well done. Do not overcook it, as it will be stringy. You will not necessarily have all these ingredients, but the times are listed as a guide.
6. The Side Dishes
Toast the baguette slices in a slow oven till they are dry and crisp. Tap the marrow bone and the marrow will slide out. Top the baguette slices with marrow slices just before serving and serve warm with the soup.
7. Remove and discard the core from the cabbage and shred the cabbage coarsely. Cook in water with some of the fatty broth from the pot. Drain. Keep this warm to serve with the soup.
8. Wash the small potatoes and boil them in water with some of the fatty broth from the pot. Drain, keep warm to serve with the soup.
9. Slice the beef and chicken and any other meats. Leave the gizzards and oxtails whole, if used.
10. Skim most of the fat from the finished consomme*** that you have made by cooking the meat and vegetables. Season this consomme with salt and white pepper. A quart of consomme may need as much as a tablespoon of salt, but go slowly to taste. You will not get all the fat away from this consomme, as more will come from the meat when reheated. The easiest way to defat is to make it a day ahead and refrigerate. The fat will harden and be easy to remove.
11. Have the seasoned consomme boiling hot. Pour some of it over the sliced meats and vegetables in a pot, and simmer a short while to reheat. Do NOT boil. Arrange the sliced meats and vegetables in a tureen or in individual soup dishes. Add the reheated broth back to the pot and bring it back to the boil. Add chopped parsley and snipped dill to taste. Pour this boiling broth over the meats and vegetables and serve immediately. Bring it to the table, accompanied by side dishes of freshly cooked cabbage, new potatoes, croutons with marrow, sour gherkins** and horseradish.
Suggested Wine: A hearty red wine
* To blanche means to whiten. We blanch meat and poultry by covering it in cold salted water, bringing it just to the boil, and rinsing them in cold water. This removes serum proteins that make a dark scum which would cloud the broth.
** Tiny sour gerkins are called cornichon in French, and the best are made in Lyon, packed in very good vinegar, by the Dessaux company.
*** A stock is a water extract of food. A broth is a stock made with meat or poultry as distinguished from one made from the bones of meat and poultry. A consomme is a finished broth, one that has great flavor due to the use of considerable amounts of meat or poultry. If properly cooked and skimmed, it will be as clear as a consomme clarified with egg whites.
© 1997, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
Modified July 2007
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