Consomme is a clear, strong broth often served as the first course of French-style meals. Consomme is made from meat or poultry bones or even vegetables, but is clarified by straining the stock instead of leaving it full of chunky vegetables like in regular soup. The true process is long, but rewarding, and all true chefs learn to make it. But a lovely mock consomme can be made with tomato juice and canned broth in the slow cooker. This is an unusual, light bodied soup adapted from one of my favorite phamplets called Home for The Holidays by Irena Chalmers’ Potpourri Press (1980). Don’t skip the avocado garnish; it is delicious as it is lovely to look at.
Cooker: Medium Round or Oval Slow Cooker
Machine Setting and Cook Time: High Heat: 2 to 2 1/2 hours
- 4 cups tomato juice
- 4 cups good-quality canned chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 large shallots, cut into chunks
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Madiera or dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 2 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
- 4 thin slices lemon
- 2 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 firm-ripe avocado, diced
Place the tomato juice, broth, tomato paste (mix with a bit of broth to loosen up), shallots, and spices in the cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Strain out the shallots. Add the lemon juice, Madiera or sherry, chives, and parsley. Let stand on LOW as long as 2 hours before serving in soup bowls with a lemon slice, diced tomato, and diced avocado garnish.
Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2005, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.