The Trattoria Project and Spectaculars: The Reason Why I Don't Post Some Of My Recipes

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Reason Why I Don't Post Some Of My Recipes

I've got lotsa free time to spare so i'm gonna, very clearly, post an in-depth recipe of one of my best dishes so anyone who happens to have alotta free time can try this one day. Here we go!

Chicken Consomme with Tofu and Shiitake "F03"

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Cuisine: French with a touch of Asian
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 9-10 hours
Cost: SGD$30-50
Serves 4

I emphasize, make this only to impress or have a shitload of time to spare, it isn't expensive and it isn't exactly easy at all.

Mise en Place:

Chicken Stock
1 old chicken or kampung chicken, skin removed, fats trimmed
15 black peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 celery sticks, fibers removed and halved
2 carrots, peeled and halved
1 tomato, halved
1/2 an onion, skins removed
5 sprigs of thyme, rosemary and italian parsley
3 bay leaves
1 rasher smoked danish back bacon or 5x5mm discs of speck
swig of dry white wine
4 liters cold water

Consomme Raft
5 eggs, whites only
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 leek or 2 white parts of spring onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 handful mixed equal portions of chopped thyme, rosemary and italian parsley
350g minced pork or beef
1 tsp black pepper

(You decide the amount.)
shiitake mushrooms, sliced and poached
silken tofu, sliced, soaked in hot water for 1 min
leftover chicken, slivered
italian parsley, chopped
cracked black pepper
sea salt(seriously optional)

Stuff you'll need:
Muslin Cloth or Cheese Cloth
Big Stock Pot
Small Stock Pot

We start off with the core of the consomme - the stock. Place all the stock ingredients in a large soup pot and cover with the cold water. Put it on the stove and turn up to a medium-high, cause you really want to get the flavors out with the sudden temperature change. Once its boiling, turn the heat down to a medium low and let it simmer like that with cover on for 8 hours(again i emphasize, too much free time or to please a crowd), skimming from time to time to remove scum and unwanted proteins. Do not open the lid unnecessarily, otherwise you will have chicken sauce instead of a consomme.

After waiting auspiciously for what you thought was the fruit of your labour, this is what you will get:
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Fortunately, the core of your consomme is done. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

Now if you realized, the stock you have is thick and murky. And if you taste, you will find it nothing amazing. So we gotta pimp it into a consomme.

Mix all your ingredients for your raft in a bowl and put it all into a food processor, if you don't have one, brunoise or mince all your ingredients and whisk them for a bit.

It will look something like that:

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Your stock should have already reduced to a fifth from when you started off. Now remove all the ingredients and strain with a colander. Then transfer the stock to a smaller pot. It shouldn't be hot by now but let it cool further until it's like 40 degrees celcius.

Pour all your raft mixture into the stock and it's time for your little workout.

Turn the heat up to a medium high and begin stirring constantly to avoid the raft from sticking, there's egg whites in there and they get cooked, fast. You will have to keep on stirring until it boils, if it does, STOP EVERYTHING. I gauge that by the instance i see bubbles or currents in the stock. If you so happen to live in the French Alps, Nepal or anywhere on an elevated land it won't matter, as long as you see bubbles or currents, STOP. I can explain why but i doubt i will bearing in mind this is already a seriously long post.

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You might be already wondering, "What the hell's a 'Raft'?". Basically, its a cloud of impurities that the egg whites take with them when they get cooked when the stock is boiling. If you continue stirring when it boils, you're putting the crap back into the consomme.

Once it boils, turn the hear down to medium low and simmer for about 15 mins. Momentarily, the 'Raft' will form and will stick to the walls of the pot. Use a spoon to ensure it dosen't, DON'T STIR NOTHING.

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After 15 mins, you should have a nice omelette like cloud on the top. The picture above is at 7 mins away from simmering, so if you see that, it's not enough.

Good, now we're almost done. Now the consomme is ready but you need to extract it out from the pot. The easiest way to do that imo is the traditional French bagel way.

Using a ladle, make hole in the raft large enough for you to scoop out the consomme.

Like that:

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Cool huh.

You will realize the consomme isn't all cleared up yet. Cool it a little and strain it with a muslin or cheese cloth and there you'll have liquid gold. 10 hours of goodness. Hah! Are you feeling sexy already?

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Scatter the shiitakes, tofu and chicken slivers on a soup plate. Ladle consomme in then crack in the pepper and chopped parsley. If you cooked the consomme long enough you don't need any salt!

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One helluva second course. Bon Appetit!

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