Lobster Consomme

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Joined May 16, 2003
Dear Friends:

My executive chef made a lobster consomme yesterday that turned out cloudy and very un-consomme like. I have never made a lobster consomme, only consommes from chicken or veal stock. Below is his methodology. Could I get please get your opinions about what you think might have gone wrong.

1) First he took live lobsters and pulled off their tails and claws. These were used for something else. The head/upper part of the body of each lobster was then cut in half and the guts scraped out.

2) He then sauteed the halved heads in a rondeau pan in olive oil. (In my opinion the pan was way overcrowded and the pieces were not browning evenly. There was not a single layer of heads but a pile of them on top of each other.)

3) To facilitate the browning he then transferred the rondeau to a convection oven and finished them there.

4) Meanwhile we caramelized mirepoix & garlic in olive oil.

5) Then the sauteed/roasted heads and the carmelized mirepoix was added to a stockpot with chicken stock and water. (Here's one potential problem. The chicken stock, if not made properly could have been cloudy from either inadequate straining/degreasing or being cooked above a simmer).

6) It was brought to a simmer and then he added a raft of egg whites and fresh mirepoix. No ground beef.

7) That was then simmered for however long he simmered it for. Finally he ladled the consomme out of the pot through the traditional hole in the raft with the previously stated cloudy results.

What do you guys think?

Mark
 
252
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Joined Jul 23, 2002
Start looking for a new job.

Seriously, do.

All of those steps to f it up by adding the raft to sommering liquid? No,no,no!

Arrrghhh!
Consomme is my favorite zen like thing to do and this person is ruining my zen! Now I have to make some Chai tea.

sorry, lost track there for a second...

Ground beef is not needed for a raft.
If I was making a lobster consomme I'd make a lobster stock from the shells and insides. Cool it over night. then add a raft of egg whites, shells, mirepoix, more shells and insides(ground up). bring it to a simmer stirring it every 4 minutes by hand until it is too hot for my hand which is around 140. That's when the raft will form. Watch it closely to not boil or even really simmer.. 45 to 55 minutes later turn off heat and ladel consomme through cheese cloth. Adjust seasoning and enjoy your karma.
 

pete

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I like to use ground meat of some sort for my raft. It helps to make it more stable. For the lobster consumme I would have used ground, raw shrimp added to the whites, or if cost was an issue, then some ground chicken breast, which would contribute little flavor to the finished product, but definately not ground beef.
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
This is the technique I also recommend. You may use leeks,garlic and onions in your clarification as well in lobster consomme.

Using chicken stock for a Lobster consomme is not such a great idea,wine and fish fumet or lobster fond should be used.

MarkV,
in some things we cook technique is paramount for it's success.
I don't want to say bad things about your boss but it seems his/her technique was off.Try it at home useing the technique qouted above,only before you strian it let it sit for 15/20 minutes.

Note..I like a touch of Pernod in my consomme.
 
572
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Joined May 16, 2003
I'm assuming you guys are against the ground beerf because it was a lobster consomme?

Meaning, if it was a beef or chicken consomme, ground beef would have been OK?

Mark
 
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Mark,

For a chicken consomme I prefere to use a vegetable clarification over ground beef for more purity of flavor and the natural gelitines in the veggies work well.

For a beef consomme I use ground knuckle face or shoulder clod.
 

pete

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I like some kind of meat in my raft. Personal preference because that is how I was trained. I also find that it makes for a sturdier raft. One that holds together a little more tightly, and less likely to break apart during straining. For beef consummes, then definately beef, for chicken then chicken and for seafood then ground shellfish or chicken. Fish does not work for making a raft.
 

kuan

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In principle, the stock should have clarified. Sometimes things fall in the consomme or the mirepoix is cut too big. A drop of wine will cloud the consomme as could many other things.

The chef made a good effort and who knows, it may have worked before. With a little tweaking and ground lean meat it might actually turn out. The proteins in lean meat actually help in the clarification process. I'd encourage him to try again, say... "chef, how about we try and make it even clearer?" :)

Kuan
 
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Joined May 26, 2001
Making consomme is at least a two-step process, as someone already pointed out: first you make the stock; then, optionally, you concentrate it; finally, you add the ingredients of the raft to the COLD stock and simmer very very gently. We can all agree that MarkV's chef rushed the process. And used an inadequate raft, added improperly.

I don't really think the crowding in the rondeau would make much difference, as long as the contents were stirred sufficiently. Nor do I have much of a problem with using chicken stock. I would prefer fumet or shrimp stock plus water; but maybe the chef wanted to use up the chix.

But how did he think he's get a good raft with only egg whites and mirepoix? Just not enough protein material to hold onto the impurities. And to add it to the simmering stock (still with the shells, etc., I assume) would only allow bits of it to make the stock worse, not better. :eek:

We don't know why the chef rushed that process. Could have been for a lot of other reasons besides ignorance. So MarkV may not need a new job :look: -- unless the chef does that sort of thing all the time (or has the staff do it so improperly).
 

kuan

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This is why I can't write recipes. I looked at the method Mark posted and assumed he strained and defatted it, after all it's basic right? Good catch Suzanne. Be honest, did anyone else catch that?

Kuan (can't read)
 
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Joined May 9, 2003
I've had sucess clarifying stocks with only egg whites and shells. It must be a pretty good stock to begin with though...otherwise I'll add a pertinent protein. I always use it for a sweet corn consomme that's only veg stock anyway...works quiet well.
 
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Joined Jul 23, 2002
I too have clarified may consommes succesfuly without meat protein.
I feel one of the biggest no-no's mentioned in the original method was adding the clarafication ingredients to a hot broth. And if the simmer was quick that too could add to the problem. Also the length of time can affect things.

Jon
 
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Lobster "egg drop Soup" anyone? LOL. I agree Jon. Also it really needs to be at LEAST two steps...stock first and then clarify. I can't imagine trying to strain the final product through #30 of lobster heads! An what if it sucks? You done at that point. I don't care HOW good your lobster stock recipe is...it'll change with the seasons as lobsters do. At least you can make the stock taste good before clarifying... you ever try to add kosher salt to a consomme?

As a chef once yelled througout the kitchen when someone inadvertantly turned up the heat on his consomme to a rolling boil..."It'll take Jesus coming off the cross to fix this mess!"
 
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