Today is the last class of ‘Stocks, Sauces and Soups and not only did I learn how to make perfectly clear consommé, I also got a great work out for my arms!!! We made a Caramelised Garlic, Tomato & Orange Sauce ( not something I would rush to make again but unfortunately is included in my end of semester assessment), Macaroni & Cheese, so as to practice making a white roux, Béchamel & Mornay Sauce, Beef Consommé, Mayonnaise and Hollandaise (the last two is where the arm workout occurred). We also clarified butter which we used in the Hollandaise (which challenged me no end).
One of the bloggers I follow, ‘Bespoke Traveller’ (check out Atreyee’s lovely and thoughtful blog), wondered how I managed to take photos in such a hectic class….this week I didn’t manage it very well I’m afraid, there was just so much going on that I was just too busy. First, as always, was mise en place, which is so important to every service and can also make home cooking easier. From there we went into making the sauces and the consommé, whilst along the way continuing to revise what we had learnt in the previous lessons.
This lesson, and all future lessons, require multi tasking which is essential when cooking in a commercial kitchen. We started the roux for the Béchamel first and cooked it off in the oven under a cartouche as we did in last weeks lesson. Whilst this cooked we made the Garlic, Tomato and Orange Sauce and as stated above, I won’t be rushing to make this sauce at home, I don’t think it really works, even with the addition of a little sugar to balance the acidity it is unusual to say the least! The Béchamel was made into Mornay with the addition of cheese (Tasty & Parmesan cheese, egg yolks & butter). To the Mornay we added cooked Macaroni, topped with more cheese and baked it until browned. My daughter went through a Mac and Cheese phase when growing up…none of it as good as this though as it was all from a packet 😱
I love homemade mayonnaise. This cold emulsion sauce is so versatile, you can make Sauce Tartare & Aioli to name only 2 derivative sauces and it’s chalk and cheese when compared to shop bought mayonnaise. Today we made mayonnaise by hand, just a bowl and a whisk… it was the first work out for the arms in the lesson. I usually make mayonnaise in the food processor and think I will continue to make it this way as it’s every bit as good as whisking it by hand. Many commercial kitchens don’t make mayonnaise, rather they buy it ready made due to food safety issues, being an egg based sauce. Once made we tossed the sauce for the same reason.
As Hollandaise Sauce is needed to be made in our end of semester assessment for Eggs Benedict, Chef decided to replace the planned Bernaise Sauce with a Hollandaise …. my nemesis as it turns out 😳. Can I say…this is not a fun sauce to make! I don’t have a photo of it as I was quite stressed at the time, but let it be known I need to practice, practice, practice so as I can nail this in my end of year assessment. You need clarified butter for Hollandaise and Bernaise Sauce, easy peasy, it’s what comes after that’s the hard part! I wasn’t whisking quickly enough and found the addition of a little hot water brought it together in the end… I see a lot of Eggs Benedict in Aron’s future.
Lastly, the beef consommé in which we used a beef stock made in a previous lesson. This lesson was really about the clarification & enrichment process which turns a good beef stock into a tasty beef consommé. I knew the basics of clarification but had never done it before, I will going forward as it was delightful, straight forward and hey…who doesn’t love a classic? We garnished ours with some julliened vegetable quickly poached in some beef stock. When researching garnishes for the consommé I came across the Consommé de Bouef Royale of Michele Roux…. beautiful and something I will be trying soon…perhaps minus the edible gold leaf.
I need to turn my sights to finding a restaurant/cafe to take me on to start the mandatory practical part of my course, I need to complete 48 periods of service between now and the end of the course to qualify. I have a few ideas on who to approach and will share progress as I work through this part. Next week we start on the next block of lessons, Vegetables, Fruit, Eggs and Farinaceous Dishes…. pasta and rice in my future! See you next week!
Love the technique of making a 'raft ' for clarification.
- 250 gram Lean Beef
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 Onion - rough dice
- 50 gram Celery - diced
- 50 gram Carrot - dice
- 3 Peppercorns
- 1 Bay leaf - dried
- 1/4 Sprig fresh Thyme
- 1/4 Bunch Parsley stems
- 1500 mls Cold beef stock - white or brown
Roughly cut the vegetables and put into robot coup (for processor) with peppercorns, bay leaf parsley stems and thyme. Blend until fine.
Add the lean mince to the vegetable and herbs and blend.
Remove the meat, vegetable and herbs to a bowl and add the egg whites. mix until unified. This is the 'clarification'.
Put the cold stock on a low heat and add the clarification. Stir until it reaches 60 degrees celsius - this prevents the protein from sticking to the bottom.
Allow the liquid to come to a low simmer and DON'T STIR. The clarification will coagulate and rise to the top and any impurities in the stock will be trapped in what is called 'the raft'
Gently simmer for 1 - 2 hrs
Using a ladle carefully remove the liquid without breaking the raft and pass through a chinois lined with muslin or a filter paper.
Remove any fat. This can be by allowing to cool and lifting off any fat or dabbing liquid with absorbent paper.
Taste and adjust seasoning - serve in appropriate bowl with garnish of choice.