Last night, I was all prepared to make Chicken Cordon Bleu. Because it takes a bit of time, I started by grating the cheese. I then went to get the chicken out of the fridge and realized that it had gone bad. Into the trash that went. So the million dollar question at that point was what to do with about a cup of grated Swiss cheese (well, really Jarlsberg but close enough).
To complicate matters, the Von’s near to our apartment had a grand reopening sale (as far as I can tell all that changed is they put a wood floor under the produce section and now carry a larger amount of alcohol) and had 18 eggs foisted on us for free by the checkout clerk (he actually had them send someone to go back and get us our free eggs). Unfortunately, we didn’t win the Ipod Shuffle like the gentleman ahead of us (when told he had won it, his response was “what is that?”). This meant that we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 eggs in the refrigerator. This partially spurred the Cinnamon Pound Cake the day before.
Our initial thoughts drifted towards some sort of scrambled eggs and I started looking through some cookbooks for ideas. In my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (it was cheap at Costco and isn’t a bad cookbook, despite the name) and I saw a recipe for cheese soufflé.
While I’ve had (and made) dessert soufflés, I’ve never actually had a savory soufflé. I’ve never seen one on a restaurant menu (including when I was in France several years ago). They seem delightfully old fashioned (to me at least).
While I’m sure America’s Test Kitchen has a good recipe for a cheese soufflé (why do I consistently want to capitalize soufflé?), when it comes to classic French recipes (and particularly when making them for the first time), I stick with Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One.
The soufflé was quite tasty and significantly more filling than the lightness suggested by a soufflé would imply. Mine, however, did not rise nearly as much as was promised in the recipe. Either my soufflé mold (yes, I have one; it was on clearance at T.J. Maxx and was a good price, despite it being Emeril branded; you can only tell if you look at the bottom) is larger than 6 cups (I didn’t measure it but it looks like it might be) or it could be the fact that when I finished the soufflé batter, the oven had preheated all the way so it had to sit out longer. I would also probably add some cream of tartar to the egg whites to help stabilize them (it was recommended in the introduction to soufflés if you aren’t beating them in a copper bowl but I forgot about it). The soufflé almost completely collapsed once we started serving it (you’re guess is as good as mine as to how to do it; Julia Child’s instructions were a bit lacking on serving).
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup boiling milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of nutmeg
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Butter a 6 cup soufflé mold (or something similar in shape and size) and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of cheese.
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes.
- Remove the sauce pan from heat and whisk in the boiling milk. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and grated nutmeg.
- Over medium-high heat, cook the mixture until thickened (about a minute).
- Off heat, whisk the egg yolks into the mixture.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff with a pinch of salt. A pinch of cream of tartar will probably allow your soufflé to rise and stay risen better than mine.
- Add 1/4 of the egg whites into the sauce pan mixture and mix well. Add all but 1 tbsp of the cheese into the mixture and mix well.
- Fold in the remaining egg whites into the mixture.
- Carefully pour the soufflé mixture into the prepared soufflé mold. Level the top and sprinkle with cheese.
- Put the soufflé in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 375°F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is well browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out cleanly.