How to Make Consommé

By SAVEUR Editors

Published on October 21, 2014

Patience and impeccable ingredients are all it takes to make consommé, the canonical—and most elegant—French soup. Watch our video to see how Daniel Boulud does it »

Heat a dry 10" cast-iron skillet over high. Slice 1 small white onion in half; stud the top of 1 onion half with 4 whole cloves. Cook the onion, cut side down, until it is blackened, 5–7 minutes, and then transfer the onion to a large stockpot.
Starting with one 3½–4-lb. chicken, remove hindquarters; separate thighs and drumsticks. Discard skin; remove bones and add to stockpot. Chop thigh and drumstick meat; chill until ready to use. Remove breasts from chicken, leaving bones attached to carcass. Discard skin and chill breasts until ready to use. Remove wings from chicken and halve carcass; add both to pot.
Add 1 tsp. each toasted coriander seeds and cracked whole black peppercorns, 6 sprigs each parsley and thyme, 4 halved garlic cloves, 4 white button mushrooms, 3 peeled carrots, 1 bay leaf, 1 halved celery heart (about 3–4 stalks), and 1 halved leek. Add 8 cups chicken stock and 4 cups water; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, skimming any fat that rises to surface, 45 minutes.
Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup, discarding the solids but reserving the carrots, celery, and leek. Slice the reserved vegetables about ¼" thick on an angle; set the vegetables aside until you are ready to assemble the consommé.
Bring 2 cups of reserved stock to a simmer in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Season reserved chicken breasts with salt and add to pan; poach until cooked through, 15–18 minutes. Transfer breasts to a cutting board; let cool, thinly slice, and set aside until ready to serve. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve back into measuring cup; let cool.
Pulse reserved thigh and drumstick meat, ½ tsp. each toasted coriander seeds and whole black peppercorns, 6 sprigs parsley, 4 egg whites, 3 chopped white button mushrooms, 2 chopped carrots, 2 garlic cloves, 2 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1 chopped celery heart (about 3–4 stalks), 1 chopped leek, and salt, to taste, in a food processor until minced. Add 3 more egg whites; purée into a coarse paste and return to large stockpot.
Slowly stir reserved stock into pot. Place over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until stock reaches a gentle simmer, about 12 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until raft floats to top of pot, forming a solid mass, about 10 minutes. Using a small ladle, gently poke a hole in middle of raft, making it large enough to pass ladle through.
Simmer consommé for 30 minutes, basting raft often by ladling consommé through hole. Line a fine-mesh sieve with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Carefully transfer ladlefuls of consommé to sieve, without disturbing raft, until all consommé is strained. Discard the raft. If you like, dab surface of consommé with a paper towel to remove excess fat. Stir in 2 tbsp. dry sherry and season with salt.
Arrange reserved sliced vegetables and chicken breast in bowls. Using a mandoline or knife, thinly slice 2 white button mushrooms into bowls. Sprinkle with chervil leaves and minced chives; add shaved black truffle, if you like. Ladle consommé into bowls; top with freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4–6.

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