How to Make Consommé

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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