Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
On one hand, I was super excited for this month's challenge, I've never made a souffle!..... On the other hand, I knew it would be a challenge... both because I've never made a souffle nor do I own a souffle dish.
But hey, what's the point of joining the Daring Cooks if not for the challenge, right?
The recipes that were included in the challenge all seemed so delicious (watercress souffle, crab and artichoke souffle, chocolate souffle!)... but I really wanted to put my own spin on it, and what better way to show off New England (and make everyone super-mouth-watering-ly jealous) than with a Lobster Souffle?
I followed the basic souffle recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (thanks Julia!) but added some lobster juice and body/tail meat to the milk/egg/flour base. A quick warning should you try this one day: it came together much more quickly than I anticipated and I was very glad I pre-measured and chopped all my ingredients ahead of time.
Ingredients (for 2 entree souffle's)
1/2 C grated pecorino cheese (I substituted, the original calls for parmesan)
1 small shallot, diced
1 C 1% milk
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 tsp tomato paste (more for color than flavor)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/2 C chopped lobster & its juices
2 tsp chopped oregano
My mise en place:
|MtAoFC in the background....|
1) Pre-heat oven to 400F and place rack in the bottom third.
2) Butter and "cheese" your souffle dish (coat the sides/bottom with a thin layer of cheese)
3) Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan, add the shallots and cook until soft (2-ish minutes)
4) In a separate saucepan, heat the milk and lobster juices until warm but not scalding.
5) Add flour to the butter/shallot mixture and stir for a couple minutes until the flour just barely starts to brown.
6) Off heat, add 1 C of the the hot milk/lobster juice mixture to the flour/shallot mixture and whisk to incorporate and thicken.
7) Back over a low heat, whisk in all but 1 tbsp of the cheese, salt, pepper, oregano and tomato paste.
8) Off heat, add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking to incorporate after each addition.
9) Let the souffle base sit while you beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. I used my KitchenAid with the whisk attachment, but a regular electric mixer will work fine. I didn't use cream of tartar (not due to some weird aversion, I simply don't have any) but I used a splash of lemon juice instead.
10) Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the souffle base to lighten it, then carefully fold in the remaining whites, trying very hard not to break them down too much.
11) Pour this delicious mixture into the souffle dishes (or soup bowls in my case), sprinkle with the remaining cheese and put in the oven for 30min.
Julia's recipe says to turn the stove down to 375F once you put them in the oven, so that's what I did. I also tried very very very hard not to open the oven door lest my souffles collapse. I'm sure I looked like a maniac as I squatted near my oven door, beer in hand, giggling like a school-girl as I watched my beautiful souffles rise. I tried to take a picture, but it turned out like this:
Me thinks I need to clean my oven....
After I pulled these amazing smelling concoctions out of the oven I took a picture as fast as I could while watching them deflate. Its true, the souffle waits for no one. Puffy or not, these babies were Mmm Mmm Good! Even though I put relatively little lobster into each of them, the flavors really came through wonderfully. Next time I think I'll add a little nutmeg and maybe try to get my hands on a proper souffle dish (I'm hoping they won't collapse as quickly, but that might be a pipe dream).
|Can you tell how much they've already deflated?|
Boyfriend LOVED it and subsequently asked me, "So, is this considered a healthy or un-healthy dinner?". I smiled and replied, "Let's just say we won't be having these all that often. I think the butter alone counts for almose half of the calories in the dish." He thought about it for a minute, then just smiled and said, "So good honey... really really good." I'll take that compliment, thankyouverymuch.