Having just completed the process, I am still fascinated with consomme’. (That apostrophe is intentional, by the way, in place of an accent mark that belongs there but that I am too lazy to cut and paste.)
Consomme’ (CON-sum-may) is a clarified broth that is full of complex flavor but fat-free. So, which of the following methods makes the most sense to you for how to clarify and get all of the impurities and fat out of your stock:
A) Get a really big bathtub of it, strap on a hazmat suit and vacuum the schmutz out from the inside.
B) Swab the whole thing down with a giant q-tip and some diluted rubbing alcohol.
C) Make a super fun raft out of meat and eggs and invite all the junk aboard for a ride!
If you guessed answer C, you are correct. Ahoy!
The stock (which is gelatinous when cold) gets combined with a meat-loafy mixture of ground chicken, eggs whites, and diced veggies, and set on the stove. As they cook, the ground meat and eggs end up combining with each other to form a “raft” that floats on the top of the stock, taking all the fat globules and other stuff with it. Then you make a hole in the raft, called a chimney (not to mix metaphors or anything) through which you put a sachet of herbs for flavor, and occasionally baste the raft. After a couple of hours of simmering, you remove the raft, which more or less comes out in one piece, strain the broth through some cheesecloth, and voila! Super tasty, supremely clear broth that you would either use as an appetite stimulant at the beginning of a meal, or as a setting for some fancy garnishes or even a piece of protein.
I think I may have upset/confused some of my classmates for my enthusiasm about our meat raft, and also for the fact that I wouldn’t stop saying “meat raft.” But really, it was awesome.