We have a love/hate relationship with Top Chef Masters going on “break” for a week. We hate that we don’t have a new episode to watch while snuggling up on the sofa with the dogs. We do, however, enjoy the opportunity to go back and make a recipe we missed the first time around. Last week that was chef Traci Des Jardins’ Tarragon Chicken Meatball Consomme (click here for the recipe). Despite the fact that it was a warm and sunny early summer evening, we went with hot soup and oooooh boy, are we glad we did!
In true Top Chef form, the recipe is unnecessarily complicated. Grind your own chicken, whisk in egg whites … who *whisks* egg whites into ground chicken? The whisk wouldn’t even work. Make half of the meatballs with just the chicken and no seasoning, make the other half with egg white binder and seasoning. Why is all this happening? Here’s how to make this one thousand times easier:
Purchase already ground chicken. Mix all the ground chicken with cold cream, egg whites, herbs and seasoning. Use a fork or your hands. Boil chicken stock (use stock in a box). Set aside one cup of broth for later. Poach meatballs in boiling chicken stock. Once poached, remove meatballs. Take a moment to note that upon immediate removal, meatballs are big and fluffy and that when they cool they shrink. Take a picture of said phenomenon. Make sure to get steam *AND* pot handle in picture.
Add fennel (even better if it is beautifully brunoised by K). Boil five additional minutes. Add meatballs back into poaching broth, add remaining fresh herbs and additional stock. Eat dinner.
My grandma makes chicken soup from scratch. This chicken soup … sorry, consomme, is some of the best I’ve ever had. Please don’t tell my grandma. The broth was rich, the herbs (fresh parsley and tarragon) were fresh and cool and added the perfect amount of anise flavor. The meatballs were light and tender and substantial. We had some left over so we put them on flatbread pizza the next night and they were awesome. Whether you’re sick or feeling fine, it’s hot or cold outside, you should make this soup and it will heal whatever ails you.
Alterations: We used pre-ground chicken. We just made one batch of meatballs with all the required ingredients instead of (inexplicably) splitting them into two separate batches. No whisking took place.
Soundtrack: The Church. Fun fact: K’s knees once appeared in a video by The Church shot at the old Guthrie Theater!
Would we make this again: Heck yeah! It will be our go-to cure-all whenever we get sick or just want some good, old-fashioned soup.