Monday, 20 September 2010

More soup basics

Consomme Celestine - Clear Beef Broth with pancakes

consomme celestine

This is a classic recipe for a clear beef broth. It is not as easy to make as it may seem as the slightest discoloration or cloudiness disqualifies it from the title... However it is worth trying as it is an old time classic. Here it is served with "pancake noodles", but anything from noodles, small pasta or dumplings can be added, or simply served clear.

1l good quality beef stock ( not cube), chilled
400g beef shin, lean minced
4 egg whites
150g mirepoix - 80g white onion, 35g carrot, 35g celery, all finely chopped approx 1cm2
pinch of salt
12g mignonette (crushed peppercorns wrapped in muslin cloth) - for infusion
125g flour
1 egg
pinch of salt
300ml milk
20g butter
10g mixed herbs such as chives, parsley, tarragon
30-50g butter or oil

Start off by making the pancake mix:
1. Melt the butter and allow it to boil a little longer until it is a rich, hazelnut color. Leave aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk the egg, salt and flour ( it will look really thick and dry)
3. Add the milk, a little at the time, continuously whisking. Add the hazelnut butter.
4. Sieve the mix and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 20 min.
5. Chop the mixed herbs and put aside as well.


Making the broth:
1. Cut the mirepoix finely place in a thick bottomed pan. Add the minced beef.
2. Whisk the egg whites by hand until foamy and mix in with the beef and cut vegetables.
3. Add the chilled stock gradually.
4. Place the pan on the stove on medium temperature and warm up to simmering point. Do not allow it to boil and stir only occasionally. Once its reached simmering point, turn the heat down to minimum and leave for 20 min. Do not stir once this stage is reached.
5. The soup will start to coagulate all all impurities will rise to the surface and form a crust.
6. After 20 min make a crack in the middle of the crust and then leave for another 15 min.

cracking the crust

Now you can finish making the crepes:
6. Add the herbs to the crepe mix and heat up a pan.
7. In a seperate pan melt the butter.
8. Brush the pancake pan with a little bit of butter and pour a ladle with pancake mix into it.
7. Fry the pancake for approx 15 sec on each side, you just want to cook it, without coloring it.
8. Cut the pancakes into as large squares as you can make out of it, cut into half and then roll it up and cut into strips.
pancake strips

Finishing the broth:
7. Once its cooked for 15 min, add the mignonette and seasoning through the crack. Let infuse for 5 min then take off the heat.
8. Prepare a bowl or a new pot with a colander and a washed muslin cloth inside and use a ladle to to transfer the broth from the pan to the bowl. Never pour the broth in nor squeeze the cloth once done. This will cause the consomme to become cloudy.

9. Now bring the clear broth back to boil a skim the fat off that will rise to the surface.
10. Plate it - put the pancakes strips at in a bowl and pour consomme on top. 

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