More soups today.
Chef Gilles took us today and it’s always a pleasure to see him as he is always so pleased to see us!
Today’s demonstrated soups were Beef consommé, french onion soup and a crab bisque. In the practical we would be making the first 2 of these, but not the crab bisque, which is a shame as this is the most interesting to me.
The beef consommé is made by clarifying beef stock. Minced shin, egg whites and mirepoix were mixed together and placed in a saucepan and the cold stock placed on top, then placed on a low heat. As the stock warms up a raft of the mince and egg whites floats to the top taking all the impurities in the stock with it leaving perfectly clear soup. Then it was infused with some black pepper. To serve it was garnished with fine strips of herb crepes.
For the onion soup, finely sliced onions were sautéed in butter and allowed to caramelise slowly. Some garlic, bacon, flour and a bouquet garni were added and then brown veal stock and simmered for 20 minutes. To finish, a little sherry was added and the soup was served topped with a croute of baguette topped with cheese and gratinéed.
For the crab bisque, chef Gilles had the largest brown crab I have ever seen. The body alone was about 1 foot across and the claws were big enough to take on a boxing champion! And it was still alive. But not for long as the chef boiled it for about 15 minutes to start the cooking.
Then he broke it up and chopped it in 1 inch pieces, seared it with some mirepoix, deglazed with white wine and cognac, added fish and chicken stocks and some rice tied in a muslin bag, which would be used to thicken the soup. It was simmered until the rice was cooked then strained and reduced. Cream was added, plus a little more cognac, then it was served with some reserved crab meat from a claw and some rice.
In the practical the raft of mince and egg whites just wouldn’t rise in my consommé, even though I followed the chef’s instruction, so I didn’t have a very clear soup. It was jolly tasty though.
The french onion soup went pretty well however and had a great colour and flavour and I do like the grilled cheese croute on top. Yummy.