Beef Consomme from Outlander book Dragonfly in Amber

Beef Consomme from DIA

We had reached the second course without incident, and I was beginning to relax slightly, though my hand still had a tendency to tremble over the consommé.

"How perfectly fascinating!"  I said, in response to a story of the younger Monsieur Duverney's, to which I wasn't listening, my ears being tuned for any suspicious noises abovestairs.  "Do tell me more."

I caught Magnus's eye as he served the Comte St. Germain, seated across from me, and beamed congratulations at him as well as I could with a mouthful of fish.  Too well trained to smile in public, he inclined his head a respectful quarter-inch and went on with the service.  My hand went to the crystal at my neck, and I stroked it ostentatiously as the Comte, with no sign of perturbation on his saturnine features, dug into the trout with almonds.

Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 18 - Rape in Paris)

Remember Murphy's Beef Stock/Broth that we made a few weeks back?  This little bowl taste heaven is a further refinement of that.

Consommé is a clear soup made from the richest stock you can find.  Which means that you have to start with homemade.  Canned or packaged stock isn’t going to cut it here.  It has to be strong, rich, homemade stock, or nothing at all.

So — you’ve got your beef stock.  I know, I know — that’s about 8 hours of work I just skipped over there.  But with make a big enough batch, you'll have enough to make soups and sauces throughout the cold winter months.

Or, you could use this method to make chicken consomme.  Just substitute finely diced chicken breast or well-trimmed thigh meat (supermarket ground chicken WON’T work — plus, it’s really gross) and chicken stock.  That cuts your stock prep time by about half.

Options, my friends.  You always have options.


Next up is the clarification, which is what turns a stock or broth into consomme.  As it heats, the protein in the egg whites and ground meat coagulate and trap impurities suspended in the liquid, leaving a crystal clear, dark-amber nectar like no other.

As they solidify, the egg whites combine with the meat and mirepoix to rise to the surface and form a raft.  As the mixture simmers, the raft ingredients further flavour and enrich the consomme.  And that’s what keeps me coming back to this classic technique — even though it can seem like a lot of work to make what is, essentially, clear soup — the contrast between the delicate clarity of the consomme and its bold, strong flavour is Soul Feeding.

Serving suggestions include anything that shows off the transparency:  a brunoise of carrot, onion and celery in the bottom of the bowl, julienned crepes floating on the surface, or a simple green onion curl for garnish as I’ve done here.


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