A consommé is a stock or broth that has been clarified. A consommé should be rich in flavour, crystal clear and free of any fat.The consommé is clarified by what is called clearmeat – a mixture of egg whites, ground meat and vegetables. The egg whites clarify the stock while the ground meat or vegetables add flavour. The clearmeat and stock are gently brought to simmer and as the egg white and meat begin to coagulate, the impurities in the stock are suspended in the liquid. The clearmeat forms a solid mass (called a raft) – keeping all the impurities at the surface of the liquid.
Pour cool veal stock in a large stockpot.
Lightly whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add eggshells and ground veal. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme sprig, peppercorns and parsley stems.
Stir the mixture into the veal stock over low to medium heat. Very slowly bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Stop stirring when the mixture begins to warm to the touch. Do not allow the liquid to a boil – this is very important – if the mixture boils the raft will break apart and the stock will be cloudy and not clarify.
When the egg white mixture starts to form a solid mass, it is called a raft. As the raft forms make a small hole in the centre of the raft with the handle of a wooden spoon. This will allow the stock to simmer through the hole. Gently simmer the consommé until fully flavoured, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The stock should be clear.
Carefully ladle the consommé from the pot and strain it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a clean bowl or pot – being careful not to break the raft as this will cause the consommé to become cloudy. Remove any fat that is at the surface by chilling or by collecting the grease with paper towel.
Season the strained consommé with salt and pepper. Serve consommé hot. Add to bowls and garnish with diced vegetables and sherry.