I know I say “I’ve never” a lot, but it’s true every time, and especially true this time: I’ve never made traditional consommé. Oh sure, I’ve tried the gelatin clarification method, but I’ve never done it egg-raft-style.
I guess kimchi flavoured consommé is hardly “traditional,” but even if the flavour is new, the method isn’t. I actually didn’t enjoy the kimchi consommé when I made it for the oysters in the Ssäm Bar chapter, but I’m hoping that the Ko kimchi consommé with pork belly, oysters and napa cabbage redeems kimchi consommé for me permanently.
Consommé is standard French broth made from clarifying stock flavoured with ground meats and mirepoix. Egg whites are stirred into cold stock and heated up slowy. When done properly, the egg whites, which are water-soluble, will have coated all the tiny floaties. When cooked, the egg whites come together in a raft, pulling together all the impurities and leaving you with a super-clear stock.
In theory all this sounds fine and dandy, but in practice, well, let’s just say I thought the floaty cloud of egg whites looked good hanging out on top of the stock. Because I didn’t stir the whites into the cold liquid, they didn’t really get a chance to coat the puréed kimchi and clarify the stock. Basically I cooked myself a lovely ground pork egg meringue mess. No worries though, because after straining through a paper towel, the stock ended up being pretty clear.
I had a tiny taste and this consommé is world’s away from the gelatin clarified one. I don’t know if it’s because of the added ground pork or the ramen broth base, but this consommé is infinitely better. It’s deeper, more complex and more robust. It kind of tastes like a super-refined kimchi stew. I can’t wait to put it together with the pork belly and oysters.
Other parts of this dish to come: pork belly for Ko kimchi consommé.