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“Cheese Soufflé”

Say that 20 times fast.

I made a soufflé. I was determined. I had a 102 degree fever and I made a souffle nonetheless. That should tell you how determined I was.

So although this may seem like a strange journey with strange pictures taken by a semi-delirious girl, I can guarantee you will see a soufflé at the end.

It all began with a golden onion.

And a pink shallot.

Plus one bay leaf and three cloves which really served as nails as much as they did flavor.

Do you prefer shallots or onions? How would you describe the difference in flavor? Discuss amongst yaselves…

While I brown the onion in some buttah. (Have you ever seen “Cawfee Tawk with Linda Richmond” on Saturday Night Live? She is sometimes my alter-ego.)

You want to get a nicely browned onion. Color is good.

You can’t really tell from the picture, but this egg had the weirdest shape. It was very bulbous at the base and had a very pointy top. One more strange egg from the chicken coop.

Try separating eggs and taking a picture at the same time. Now do that while you say soufflé 20 times fast.

I think I used my chin at one point. But I forget what for. I had a 102 degree fever. My memory is spotty.

Check out these yolks from my chickens! I’m like a proud grandmother, I know. But seriously… 1) I did not color correct those yolks one bit and 2) look how the yolks are different sizes. That part cracks me up. It amuses me and makes me want to bake.

These are the many sized soufflé dishes out there in the world. I was overwhelmed by the choices so I went for 1 big one. But you could use many little ones and serve your guests their own individual pot of soufflé.

You will need bread crumbs and parmesan and a little melted buttah to coat the inside of your soufflé dish, which you will then put in the fridge.

Then you will add a bit of milk and infuse it in your onion pan with all of the onion flavor and brown bits.

Nutmeg. I picked these from a tree in St. Lucia long ago. I was staying on a cocoa plantation where I ate dinner with British royalty. It’s a long story and it doesn’t make any sense. It’s just what happens when you go on vacation in St. Lucia. You end up with lots of nutmeg and strange stories involving British royalty.

What I like about this nutmeg is that it still has the web of mace around it. It is bright red when you first pick it. The Germans use mace a lot in their recipes. I will give you one in my book. Or two… I forget.

I bet you’ve been wondering where the shallots have been all this time. They are soaking, reveling really, in a bath of vermouth, my favorite liquid as you know.

First they sweated in butter and then came the vermouth where they simmered some more.

Then in yet another pan…a bit of flour and butter for a roux.

The goal here is to keep stirring constantly so the flour doesn’t burn.

It will form a nice paste that will begin to bubble. The bubbles are a sign that the flour is cooking off its floury taste.

Then the onion infused milk gets whisked into this roux and stirred rapidly so no lumps form.

Then the buttery, vermouthy shallots arrive. Whisk all of this together over low heat until it thickens to a gravy consistency.

Meanwhile, the egg whites get beaten with a bit of cream of tartar if you’re feeling like you need a little extra help. I was feeling delirious and like I needed a little help for sure.

The soufflé dish comes out of the refrigerator and waits.

The whites become fluffy to soft peaks…

The nutmeg goes into the white roux…

The yolks are added…

…along with some cayenne… to kick it up a notch.

Then cheese. Mmm, cheese. You could use many types of gratable cheese here, but parmesan was what I had most handy.

Then the whites are folded in… fluffy and uniform…

Then into the soufflé dish it goes.

And before too long, it is puffy, and brown on the top with a little crust and oh so good for when you can’t eat anything except, perhaps, and bit of warm fluffy soufflé.

Let them eat soufflé I say.

“Cheese Soufflé”

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings

“Cheese Soufflé”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small onion studded with 1 bay leaf and 3 cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon vermouth
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • Pinch cayenne

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a small sauce pan or skillet, brown the onion in butter over medium heat and pour in the milk. Bring to a simmer and turn off heat to let it infuse.
  3. With a pastry brush, coat the inside of a souffle dish with melted butter, bread crumbs and about 1 tablespoon of the cheese and place in the refrigerator.
  4. Sweat the shallots in butter over medium heat, then add the vermouth and simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Beat the whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  6. In a large sauce pan, make a roux by melting butter over medium-low heat and adding the flour, whisking constantly until bubbles form.
  7. Remove the onion from the milk, and slowly whisk the liquid into the roux.
  8. Add the shallots followed by the nutmeg and whisk over low heat until it thickens.
  9. Beat the egg yolks and incorporate them into the roux along with cayenne.
  10. Pour in the cheese and stir, then fold in the egg whites gently until mixture is uniform.
  11. Pour the mixture into the souffle dish and bake for 25-30 minutes until brown on top and well raised above the dish. Refrain from opening the oven to check until 20 minutes have passed.
  12. Serve immediately before it collapses!
http://georgiapellegrini.com/2010/01/18/recipes/cheese-souffle/

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Comments

  1. Souflé you say? How about a bundle of hay? Excuse me mam, you are going the wrong way. Sorry sir, I must tell you nay. I am actually headed to Bombay. Good day.

    • Georgia says:

      Oh Gordon… such the poet. I look forward to more poetry related to my posts. It will perhaps inspire better posts even…

  2. Charmant. Makes it look like even I could make a souffle.

  3. I love the nutmeg pic. I've never seen nutmeg with the web of mace before. I didn't even *know* that's where mace came from, much less that it came in a web. I read a story in the New Yorker about six years ago during 15-minute breaks at work about the writer's travels to the Spice Islands and the occasionally violent cultivation of nutmeg. He quoted an Indonesian press secretary of some sort who said, "The Bandanese have died for centuries over this nutmeg." That sticks in my mind whenever I grate some into my eggnog. And now I just read the New Yorker for the cartoons.

    • Georgia says:

      Haha, Greg, I love the New Yorker cartoons too. I was just reading them last night. Sometimes I wish I lived in a place where I could pick exotic spices all day, where I had a vanilla tree and a nutmeg tree. Heck, I would even take a meyer lemon tree or an avocado tree. Alas, I have no exotic trees. But yes, the nutmeg is the only tree that offers two valuable spices (nutmeg and mace) with one nut… pretty cool, eh?

      • Very cool indeed, Georgia. I imagine the raw spice scent fills the air to intoxicating levels. I wonder if they ever get tired of smelling it? Sometimes, the only thing I look forward to during the holidays is randomly coming across the scent of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. I live in Phoenix and I have an orange tree in my back yard; citrus trees and rosemary bushes here are frequently lawn decorations. Folks at work bring in bags of oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit to set on the breakroom table for everyone else. I'm afraid my orange tree isn't doing too well since my house was vacant for about six months before I bought it and moved in. I was looking forward to smelling orange blossoms right outside my backdoor this spring. I still have hope for the olive tree, though.

        • Georgia says:

          Lucky you! As an east coast girl transplanted to California I envy all of the citrus trees and can't understand why people let them just fall to the ground. I want to knock on my neighbor's doors and offer to make jams for them!

  4. Inspiring display of true culinary grit! Julia Child would most certainly approve. The souffle looks superb!

  5. Gurl. All that information but you breeze right by the dish size??? Kind of a key point, no?