When you’re in a kitchen that has giant pots of stocks continually simmering pretty much all day, and about twelve stovetops making soup, it gets hot. Like menopause heat flash hot. (Not that I would know what that feels like, but I now fear old age.)
It’s a long day of peering over pots of liquid, continually tasting them, and adding a ton of salt until they begin to taste like something. We made a split pea soup with croutons (which are pretty much bread cubes soaked and sautéed in butter—yum!), a farmer-style vegetable soup, a French onion soup, and a beef consommé.
A consommé is a super clear beef broth—that is—if you do it correctly. My station partner and I failed to watch our broth closely and let it boil too long, allowing the liquid to cloud. What was supposed to happen was for all the sediments to float to the top and bind to the raft we made. This raft is a mixture of egg whites, lean ground protein, and julienne cut of mirepoix (carrots, leeks, celery). When you throw these ingredients on the top of the soup, and heat it up, it creates a raft-like structure that attracts sediments in the beef stock to rise and bind with it. But if you boil it too long, it breaks up and mixes with the broth making it even cloudier. Luckily we passed it through a cheesecloth lined chinois, and our fatty consommé slimmed down.
TIP OF THE DAY: To make a flavor soup, sweat whatever vegetables you’re going to use first before pouring in your stock or water. Lightly sautéing these vegetables will help develop their flavor and enhance the soup.