Guinea Hen consommé with dumplings and vermicelli.
Guinea Hen consommé with dumplings and vermicelli.

A romantic era virtuoso said that “anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart and can not make a good soup.”  Based on this soup, any allegations of Scrabbulous sleight of hand or cheatery should be illegitimate and unfounded.

Guinea hens carcasses and bones were gently cajoled for 5 hours or so in water with minimal mirepoix over the warmth of one hundred attentive mothers’ hands; just enough heat to coax the proteins and aromatic poultry properties into the broth while keeping it as clear as possible.  The meat from 2 of the 4 drumsticks were ground with the a light carrot/onion/celery triptych and added to egg whites which were broken up by the addition of salt and vinegar to produce the clarifying raft.  4oz of spicy tomato purée, chopped rosemary and the strained stock were brought to a late summer’s temperature,  the raft was whisked in and left to do its thing under a whisper of a flame.

In the mean time, the thigh meat was ground smooth with lemon zest, lavender, salt, an egg white and splash of sherry vinegar for the quenelle forcemeat.  Spaghetti was wrapped in a towel and broken into 1” segments over the countertop’s edge then toasted in the oven until chestnut brown, a manipulation which gives the pasta a slightly nutty flavor. The remaining 2 drumsticks were poached in salted water.  Julienned onion, diced carrot and celery were blanched in the same water, the quenelles poached as well and ultimately used to boil the vermicelli.  Such flavor layering and procedure is a modest monument to the efficient use of water and cookware.

The consommé was strained through a few ladles of the cooked raft in a coffee filter.  The vegetable garnish, quenelles, picked drumstick meat and vermicelli were heated together with the clarified broth.

Soup to nuts evaluation: The consommé’s spicy notes from the tomato purée were particularly enjoyable, giving the broth an added dimension.  The lemon zest lent proper and distinctive acidity to the rich broth and quenelles.  The pasta provided an essential starchy element and alternative texture.  The vegetable garnish gave the dish sweetness, another texture and further sustenance.  The consommé was perfectly clear but once the garnishes were added some of the residual fat from the drumsticks and quenelles probably coated some of the vegetables and vermicelli and rose to the surface of the consommé during it photography.  Camera doesn’t have a soup setting.