Total time: 7-10 hours.
Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cooks’ 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!
1 kg chicken bones or skinned Marylands
1 boiling chicken or 2 kg (2¼ lb) wings
400 gm (14 oz) onions, about 4 medium
400 gm (14 oz) carrots, about 6 medium
200 gm (7 oz) celery, about 4 large ribs
50 gm (1¾ oz) dried mushrooms, about 12
200 gm (7 oz) broccoli stalk, two large stalks
Soup or Consommé
2 litres (8 cups/2 quarts) chicken stock
500 gm (1 lb) chicken mince
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 cm (1½ inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
4 cm (1½ inch) piece fresh ginger, extra, peeled, chopped
½ red capsicum (red bell pepper), chopped
2 spring (green) onions, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
2 red bird’s eye chillies, seeded (optional), thinly sliced
½ cup (120 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) Vietnamese mint leaves
1 cup (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) coriander (cilantro) (Reserve 18 of the smallest leaves and 6 of the tips for service) wash the rest of the bunch including the roots.
1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice
1 – 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce
Clarifying the soup
1 egg white per 4 cups of stock (for clarifying)
1 cup crushed ice per 4 cups of stock
Recipe makes about 48 wontons only 18 are used for this recipe. The rest can be frozen uncooked for other occasions.
500 gm (1 lb) chicken breasts or tenderloins with the tendon removed.
1 tablespoon (30 ml) rice wine, mirin or sherry
4 teaspoons (20 ml) soy sauce
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) ground white pepper
½ cup (120 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 finely chopped spring (green) onions
48 wonton wrappers
Egg or water to moisten the wonton wrappers so they stick together
Step 1 – Stock
1. Cook your bones and chicken until brown.
2. Sweat the vegetables in the oil or butter until soft.
3. Put ingredients in a stockpot and cover with cold water.
4. Cover with a lid, then bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, skimming foam from surface, for 2 hours or until meat falls from bone. Lift out the chicken and keep for another use.
6. Strain stock through a muslin-lined sieve. Discard solids.
Step 2 – Soup
1. Fry the mince until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off. You don‟t want any burnt bits as it will make your stock bitter.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes
3. Skim off any fat.
4. Strain the soup to remove any solids. Stop here and serve with wontons. Allow 1 cup/240ml per serve. Or move on toward Consommé.
Step 3 – Consommé (clarified with egg whites)
1. Place egg whites in a bowl. This is the time to taste your stock and decide if it needs more flavourings or salt and pepper. Add seasoning to the egg whites.
2. Whisk the whites to a bubbly froth and add the crushed ice.
3. Add to the cooked meat. Mix together.
4. Add this mixture to the simmering stock. Whisk for a slow count of three.
5. Let it heat slowly back to a simmer. Don‟t stir it again.
6. The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn’t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you’ll have to start again with the egg whites.), you want to bring it up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. I try to push the middle back so I get a good hole. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn’t already one.
7. As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam, come up through your hole. Skim it off and throw it away. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you‟re ready to take it out. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.
8. Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
9. Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. You can strain it if you want too but hopefully the liquid is clear.
1. Finely chop the chicken with food processor or cleaver. Transfer chicken to large bowl. Add sherry, soy sauce, pepper, coriander and spring onion; mix well.
2. For wontons, work with about twelve wrappers at a time, keeping remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon meat mixture onto center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten with egg or water and gather edges around filling, pressing firmly at top to seal; cover and set aside.
1. Heat consommé or broth.
2. Heat oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat to 375°F/180°C. Add eight to ten wontons at a time, cook until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
3. Place the broth into your warmed bowls. Add 1 wonton and place the others beside the bowl.
4. Add 3 Vietnamese mint leaves and 3 chilli rings to each bowl. Place a tip of the Vietnamese mint beside each bowl
5. If you have it add a 1 cm (1/3 inch) wide strip of edible gold leaf to each bowl.
I split this into two days. Chicken stock on the first day, chilled and scooped the fat out. Then soup, wontons and consommé on the second day.
The directions were fairly straightforward and detailed, so I didn’t see a reason to reinvent Peta’s wheels. When I sat down to eat it, I said “Ah, it’s pretty but I didn’t need it to be pretty.” By the time I was finished eating my first bowl, I’d decided that yes, it needs to be pretty like this if I do it again. The visual difference is astounding, and the time is totally worth it.