Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!
I decided that simplicity would be key for this challenge, and so I made a shiitake/bonito stock, spiced up with white peppercorns, then turned it into a lovely consommé served with pumpkin and snow peas.
The stock base is made by taking an onion, diced, half a dozen dried shiitake mushrooms, 2 bay leaves, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and some bonito flakes (I used 2 heaped tablespoons, but I like the fishy flavour). Add to 1.5 liters of water and simmer for a couple hours. You might want to add further flavour, i have a japanese mixed spice I use.
When the flavours have sufficiently infused, strain the solids from the soup base and leave aside to cool for 10 minutes or so. While it cools, separate 2 eggs, and whisk the whites to soft peaks. You do this because I follow the ‘egg raft’ method of consommé preparation. Fold the whites into the cooled soup, and simmer very gently for about 35-40 minutes. As it simmers, scrape a hole in the centre of the egg raft so you can watch the stock clearing as the particles attach to the raft. When the stock is clear (use a soup spoon to look at it if it is hard to see while it is in the pan), take the whole off the heat and rest again for 10 minutes.
Now, you need to remove the consommé from under the raft, without breaking the raft and releasing the bits back into the mix. You will need to use a ladle or similar, and to take your time. You cannot strain it, the raft will collapse. You might be able to pour off from underneath the raft, but this is delicate, and seems to release some bits and pieces, no matter how carefully you try, so I would recommend ladling.
Upon successfully extracting the consommé, discard the raft. pour consommé over lightly steamed snow peas and pumpkin, serve with something in character with your soup. In this case, it was shredded cabbage and Japanese mayonnaise, and sushi rice with shredded dried salmon and smoked tofu.