Consommé a very clear broth or stock. It is made by beating egg whites into cold stock, then heating it to just below a simmer for 15 minutes. As the egg white heats up it coagulates, and in the process it encloses all the minute cloudy particles. These rise to the surface and are skimmed off, leaving a clear broth beneath.
The stock must be thoroughly degreased beforehand. This is done by refrigerating the stock and removing the solidified fat. The rest of the fat is then removed by warming the stock, then when the fat has melted, laying a sheet of paper towel on the surface. Because fat has a lower surface tension than water, the paper will absorb the fat. Remove the paper and discard. Repeat with a fresh sheet if necessary.
- Having degreased the stock thoroughly, taste it for seasoning and add salt if necessary. If the consommé is to be served cold, over-salt it slightly as more salt is needed for a cold dish.
- Beat 1 cup of stock with the egg whites in a large bowl.
- Bring the rest of the stock to a simmer in the saucepan.
- While beating the egg white mixture, gradually pour the hot stock into the egg white mixture in a thin stream.
- Pour the stock back into the saucepan and bring back to a simmer over medium heat. While it is heating, stir it with a wire whisk.
- As soon as the stock reaches a simmer, stop stirring.
- Move the pot to the edge of the flame, and continue heating over a low flame for 5 minutes.
- Turn the pot a quarter turn and heat for 5 minutes, then turn again after 5 minutes, and once again for a final 5 minutes.
- Line a colander with the dampened cheesecloth and place it over the bowl.
- Carefully ladle the stock and egg whites into the colander, agitating the egg whites as little as possible.
- When finished, allow it to drain for 5 or 6 minutes.
- Remove the colander and stir the wine or cognac into the consommé.
- M. J. Lewis (1990), Physical Properties of Foods and Food Processing Systems, Woodhead Publishing ISBN 1855732726, digitized by Google