Consommés are arguably the “nobility” of soups. With their clear, clean appearance and full flavors, these soups express “elegance.” The consommé below produces an elegant soup from inexpensive ingredients. Although there are many steps and much elapsed time in its preparation, this soup actually requires relatively little actual time in front of the stove. The results are both elegant to observe and elegant on the tongue.
Transfer chicken to a stock pot. Add leek, carrot, onion, garlic, parsley, zest, bay leaf, tomato paste, peppercorns, and water. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms. Reduce to low and simmer for about 2 hours until the liquid is reduced by about half.
Strain the stock through a fine strainer. Discard the contents of the strainer. Cool and remove any fat that collects on top of the chilled stock.
Return the stock to a saucepan. Combine the egg whites with the vegetable trimmings and add to the stock. Bring the combination to a low boil. When the stock is clear, carefully strain the stock through a fine strainer and then through a chinois.
Reheat stock in a saucepan. Test for salt. Divide the chicken meat among the serving dishes. Divide the hot stock over the chicken and garnish with minced chives.