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Clarifying Soup Stock

fingers's picture

Please bear with me. This is my first post ever on cook's talk although I'm on FHB Breaktime almost every day.

I've always wanted to know the correct way to clarify soup stock. After stripping the meat off the Christmas turkey, I'll throw the carcase in a pot covered with water, add a carrot, onion, parsnip, and whatever else I've got and simmer away for a half hour or forty five minutes, then allow it to cool and skim off the fat and remove the bones.

That's as far as I've got then I use it for soup stock, but I've always been curious as to how I would get it to be clear or at least clearer. Just the other day, I tried to reheat it almost to a boil then fold in two egg whites which I then strained out. It made it slightly clearer but not really what you'd call clear. Am I on the right track or is there some simple way which real cooks know? Thanks for your replies.
I'm by no means a cook. (I'll bet that's obvious.)

Gretchen's picture

I am not at all knowledgeable (post #68676, reply #1 of 16)

I am not at all knowledgeable about this except from reading, and have never felt any need to have clear stock. But one thing I have noticed is that turkey stock in particular is always much more "cloudy" than chicken--at least in my experience--so it really might be hard to clarify it.
I have been under the impression that clarifying stock was principally for making a very special consomme or such for a dinner.
Hope someone else with more info will come along for you.

thecooktoo's picture

Gretchens right, it's really (post #68676, reply #2 of 16)

Gretchens right, it's really difficult to get perfectly clear stock from turkey, particularly the broth that you get when you simmer the cooked bones and meat.

But the technique you use is the same for any stock that you want to clarify.

For a gallon of stock I run it through a double layer of cheese cloth. Then I use 4 egg whites whipped together until they are frothy and well combined; then add 1 lb of ground chicken or ground turkey, mix together completely with the egg whites, stir that mess into the stock and brin it to a simmer. As it cooks a "raft" will form on the top of the stock; after a half hour or so of simmering you can punch a hole in the raft and dip the clarified stock out with a ladle.

I only do it when I have to really impress somebody with a very special dish...and usually only when I'm being paid very well to do it. I have one client that I do quite a few private dinners for and one of her favorite first courses is a roasted onion and fennel consomme with three pan seared chili crusted jumbo diver scallops and a garnish of chopped scallion tops and a brunoise of red pepper.

Gretchen's picture

Wow on the first course!! And (post #68676, reply #3 of 16)

Wow on the first course!!
And I thought I remembered something about ground meat and the raft.

fingers's picture

"roasted onion and fennel (post #68676, reply #4 of 16)

"roasted onion and fennel consomme with three pan seared chili crusted jumbo diver scallops and a garnish of chopped scallion tops and a brunoise of red pepper."

Oh, I'm so tired of that. We have it two or three times a week. Just kidding. I'm so out of my league here I think I'll slink back over to Breaktime where their idea of haute cuisine is anything better than what comes out of a drive-through window. Thanks for the answers.

ashleyd's picture

Don't forget Jim is a (post #68676, reply #5 of 16)

Don't forget Jim is a professional cook, and he's only doing that dish because people are paying him good money, most people wouldn't even try a dish of that complexity.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

thecooktoo's picture

Ya know, Ashley, I have never (post #68676, reply #7 of 16)

Ya know, Ashley, I have never served that dish in my own home. I have clarified the consomme but never finished the dish and served it at home. Way too much time and money for me.

ashleyd's picture

I figured that was probably (post #68676, reply #8 of 16)

I figured that was probably the case!

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

SallyBR1's picture

One day I'll try this just (post #68676, reply #6 of 16)

One day I'll try this just for the fun of it.... I've always wanted to produce a clear consomme type broth.

IN fact, many many MANY years ago my first husband did it - he was not into cooking, but one day decided he was going to make a golden consomme to server just with small cutouts of veggies floating on top - he worked hard, made an unbelievable mess in the kitchen, but.... it was awesome!

in those days people did not use to take pictures of food, though... :-)

SuB's picture

Okay, so I figured out what a (post #68676, reply #9 of 16)

Okay, so I figured out what a brunoise is...
But I am still intrigued by your roasted onion and fennel consomme - it sounds absolutely divine. Would you consider sharing the recipe? Please?

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

thecooktoo's picture

More than happy to share. I (post #68676, reply #10 of 16)

More than happy to share. I had not made it for such a long time, that I realize now that brunoise was not the term...I used a julienne, much more attractive.

Here's the recipe, let me know if you have any questions. BTW, I always simmered the broth for at least two hours, just never changed the recipe:


* Exported from MasterCook *

Cajun Seared Scallops with Roasted Onion and Fennel Consomme

Recipe By :Jim Davis
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Luncheon Seafood

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 tablespoons butter
6 medium Spanish onions -- medium dice
4 bulbs fennel -- sliced (tops reserved)
2 each carrote -- small dice
4 each bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon Juniper berries
1 bunch thyme
64 fluid ounces chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds 10-20 count dry (diver) scallops
2 ounces each fine julienne of carrot -- zucchini, yellow squash
8 ounces Cajun spice
8 tablespoons olive oil
16 asparagus tips
1 head roasted garlic
2 pounds ground chicken
6 each egg whites

For the broth: In a sauce pot, melt butter. Add onion and caramelize. Set aside. To sauce pot, add sliced fennel and sweat until very soft. Next, add carrot, bay leaves, Juniper berries, thyme, caramelized onion, and broth. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 1 hour. Strain through a cheesecloth. Season with salt and pepper. In a strainer, add julienned vegetables to broth. Simmer for 1-2 minutes (until crisp tender) remove and chill to stop cooking. Reserve vegetables and broth separately. Cut the top off the garlic head and drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes.

Clarify the broth by mixing the ground chicken and the egg whites together. Add to the broth and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and DO NOT STIR. Simmer for 1 hour. Carefully remove the mat of cooked chicken and egg white from the top of the broth, breaking it up as little as possible. Pass the consomme through a cheese cloth lined strainer. The broth will now be perfectly clear.

For the dish: Dredge the scallops in the Cajun spice. Sear in olive oil on all sides on high heat until scallops are just cooked through. Place three of the scallops in a circle in the middle of a 9 inch bowls.

In the middle of the circle, place julienne vegetables. Spoon warm broth gently over vegetables until bowl is filled by one-third. Garnish with asparagus tips and roasted garlic cloves. Finish garnish with fennel tops. Repeat with other bowlx.

"Jim's Kitchen"
"The Really Good Food Company, Feb.2003"

JoeB2's picture

Thank you for posting this. (post #68676, reply #11 of 16)

Thank you for posting this. It looks delicious.

Is the first simmer 2 hours, or the second.. or both?

SuB's picture

Thanks very much for sharing (post #68676, reply #13 of 16)

Thanks very much for sharing this recipe, Jim, it sounds fantastic. I've never made anything like this & I think I'll have to try it, though perhaps not clarified - just for myself I don't mind if it's cloudy. I also like your trick of blanching the vegetables in a strainer in the stock.
The weather's cold and dreary here and being able to sip a hot mug of this soup in the afternoon sounds really good.

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

LucyLocket's picture

Michael Ruhlman's "Elements (post #68676, reply #12 of 16)

Michael Ruhlman's "Elements of Cooking" includes a lot of information about stocks. After reading the book, I decided to try it with just the egg whites and no ground meat. It worked very well, making a lovely, clear chicken broth. One of those skills that's fun for a home cook to try, but not necessary every day.

chiffonade's picture

Here's a step by step (post #68676, reply #14 of 16)

Here's a step by step demonstration. This is how we learned it in school but I've never used the technique at home.

*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."


thecooktoo's picture

That's really interesting, I (post #68676, reply #15 of 16)

That's really interesting, I attended Barilla's one week professional program for chef's two years ago...and the recipe I got includes just ground meat and egg whites. I wonder what the veggies lend to the pot in the clarification process.


Pielove's picture

Now that you know the correct (post #68676, reply #16 of 16)

Now that you know the correct way, also know that (as stated above) most cooks never bother clarifying stock. That said, one thing I have noticed is that stock made in the crockpot is much less turbid than stock made on the stovetop. I think the crockpot cooks the stock at a slower simmer than I do on the stove. Has anyone else noticed this? So I make lazy-person's stock-- throw it in the crockpot and forget about it!