Creating a Consommé with a Raft
Andy Anderson !
Our instructor at the CIA called building a raft: A Test of Bravery. You take a chicken stock that you took four hours making and then create a raft... and if you burn the raft, or break it at the end, you have to start all over again.
Building a raft was one of the first things we had to master... I broke my first one.
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- egg whites
- 1 1/2 lb
- ground chicken
- 1 large
- tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp
- kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 c
- yellow onion, chopped
- 1/3 c
- leek, chopped, white part only
- 1 c
- celery, chopped
- parsley stems, chopped
- bay leaves
- 2 sprig(s)
- thyme, chopped
- 1 clove
- garlic, chopped
- peppercorns, whole black
- 2 1/2 qt
- fresh chicken stock, cold
The ingredients chosen for the raft will add flavor to the stock. For example, the choice of chicken thighs over white meat, will deepen the flavors in the stock, but will also create a darker consommé, which may not be desirable.
You will need about 2.5 quarts of good, fresh chicken stock for this recipe. I usually make the chicken stock the day before, let cool in the refrigerator, and then build the raft the following day.
My Hearty Chicken Stock recipe would be excellent for this consommé.
3Combine the ground chicken and egg whites in a food processor, fitted with an S-blade, and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
A food processor is not a must have… An alternate would be to use a large mixing bowl, and beat away.
4Add the chopped tomato, a good pinch of salt, and continue to beat away.
Chef's Note: Why all the Beating?
The agitation, plus the salt, and the acid in the tomato will denature the proteins, and that's essential to making the raft work properly.
5Add the chopped onion, leek, celery, parsley stems, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, garlic, and peppercorns. Continue to beat until fully combined. The resulting mixture should resemble a big gloppy mess.
If you’re using a mixing bowl, you’ll want to beat for another 2 minutes… If you’re using a food processor, about 30 seconds.
6In a large pot, stir the mixture into the cold chicken stock, and then bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
This is your first test. If you don’t keep the mixture active, it will stick to the bottom on the pot and burn…
After it begins to boil, the mixture will float off the bottom of the pot, and you’ll be safe.
7When the mixture begins to boil, stop stirring, or you’ll break the raft.
Move the pot slightly off center of your burner, so that it’s only boiling on one side. Allow it to boil over the raft, pushing it to the far side of the pot. This leaves an area of the boiling liquid exposed to that you can see the progress of the clarification.
8Turn the heat to low, and keep the stock simmering.
During this time, you should taste and season. Salting at the end just makes it taste salty, salting while it's simmering makes is taste seasoned.
9Continue to simmer for forty-five minutes to an hour and a half, or until the stock is perfectly clear.
10Remove from the burner, and then strain the stock.
This is your second and last test... How to remove the clear liquid from the raft without breaking it. If you break it, will have to throw it away and begin the process all over.
11Chef's Note: Straining Method # 1:
Take the pot off the heat and wait about 15 minutes. As the liquid cools, the raft will quietly settle to the bottom. You can then carefully ladle the consommé through a fine-mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth.
A good four hours to make the stock, and another two hours to make the consommé... that's a lot of time, and effort. And let's not forget all the ingredients.
Since the process takes so much time (but it's worth it), I usually increase the recipe to make a gallon, and freeze what I don't use.
I use these ziplock containers, and it keeps for 4 months.