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06 November 2007

Mushroom consomme

I recently wrote about a really enjoyable meal Silverbrowess and I had at The Goose. I was particularly taken by the mushroom consomme.

Chef patron of The Goose, Matthew Tomkinson emailed me introducing himself after I wrote my article. He has very kindly offered the recipe for the consomme which I have copied below. I understand from him that the recipe is very loosely based on Nico Ladenis' clarified wild mushroom stock.

One addendum to the recipe is that Matthew is contemplating using a different method for clarifying the stock. In the recipe below he uses the traditional method of egg whites. However, in his email to me he said that they are considering ditching the egg whites and using the ice filtration technique, as demonstrated by Heston Blumenthal when he was trying to make the perfect Peking duck in a recent episode of In Search of Perfection.

Supposedly the egg whites dull the flavour slightly. The beauty of Heston's suggested method is that the resulting liquid is pure and unsullied. To explain it quickly: you cook the stock, you then freeze it. Then you place the frozen stock in muslin or similar, over a bowl and allow it to melt in the fridge and drip through the muslin. The result is that all the fat, bits of veg etc is caught in the muslin, whilst the liquid drips into the bowl. It is important to defrost in the fridge, because if it defrosts too quickly, you risk the fat emulsifying with the liquid and slipping through the muslin, into your otherwise pure liquid. For a far more technical explanation read this.

Before you go head long into making this, I should say that I haven't yet tried it out. I'm sure it works - he is a chef afterall - but this is the first recipe I've ever posted that I haven't first cooked myself.

Many thanks to Matthew for agreeing to me posting his recipe.

Mushroom stock

  • 2 large shallots finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium bunch thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1kg wild mushroom trimmings or sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 250ml dried mushroom soaking liquor or veg stock if not available
  • 750 ml water

Clarification

  • 3 egg whites
  • salt and sugar
  • madiera

To make the stock firstly sweat the shallots and garlic in butter until lightly caramelised, add the mushroom trimmings and cook slowly until dry. Next add the tomato puree and cook out until starting to catch on the bottom of the pan, deglaze with the white wine and reduce until syrupy. Add the mushroom soaking liquor and reduce by half then cover with the water, add the herbs and bring to the boil. Skim well, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30 mins. Remove the pan from the heat, season and allow to cool. Next pass the liquid through double muslin and chill.

To clarify the stock lightly whip the egg whites and season well, whisk these into the cold stock and place over a medium heat. Bring the liquid up to near boiling making sure the bottom doesn't burn by occasionally stirring. As the proteins coagulate a 'raft' will appear on the surface made of the cooked egg. As this starts to happen, stop stirring and leave to simmer very gently for about 20 mins breaking the surface of the raft as necessary to allow some of the pressure to escape. Do not allow to boil at this stage.

Using a ladle, pass the clear liquid off through muslin again and season well with salt and a pinch of sugar if necessary (wild mushrooms can be a little bitter) finally finish with a good glug of madeira to taste.

It works well with the gnocchi or a raviolo and particularly with coriander or chervil in it.

Comments

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Having not watched any of the In Search of Perfection programmes, this is the first time I've come across the ice method of clarification - interesting and appeals to the scientific part if my brain. Thanks for the potted explanation :)

Thanks, although someone more scientific with me - who has actually tried it rather than just watched it - might want to verify I've got it right.

I have tried this recipe and I found it extremely easy and very tasty. I am now at this moment starting to make another batch and am going to freeze it and see if it is as nice when thawed. Unfortunately its one of those things you cant do quickly and for a dinner party it must be done a day or two beforehand lets hope it works from frozen.

Jack Cooper

Thanks Jack, glad to hear it works.

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