Monday, August 22, 2011

Goat Cheese Soufflé With Thyme

My first attempt at a souffle was when I was about 10.  I worked hard making a lovely souffle with cheddar cheese (that's all I remember) for my family for dinner.  Then I was sick all night.

No fault of the souffle, but you know how that is.  No interest in making souffle again.  Until now.

A foodie friend of mine described a goat cheese souffle and I was intrigued.  then I found out it was a recipe by Deborah Madison and I was hooked.  I had to make it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do not own a souffle pan or ramekins, so I decided to just go for it in a  shallow casserole dish.  After all, it is more about the flavor than the presentation, especially when you are feeding your spouse.

It was quite tasty, not heavy on flavor but nice and light.  The fresh thyme makes a perfect partner for the goat cheese.

It made a great side dish for scallops and sauteed swiss chard.  Don't concentrate on how mine looks, just trust me about the fabulous flavor.

Goat Cheese Soufflé With Thyme by Deborah Madison

Butter, plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, for the dish
1 1/4 cups milk or cream
Aromatics: 1 bay leaf, several thyme sprigs, 2 thin onion slices
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly milled pepper
Pinch cayenne
4 egg yolks
1 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese, preferably a Bucheron or other strong-flavored cheese
6 egg whites
Several plump thyme sprigs, leaves only

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Butter a 6-cup soufflé dish or an 8-cup gratin dish and coat it with the Parmesan. Heat the milk with the aromatics until it boils. Set it aside to steep for 15 minutes, then strain.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. When foamy, stir in the flour and cook over low heat for several minutes. Whisk in the milk all at once and stir vigorously for a minute or so as it thickens, then add 3/4 teaspoon salt, a few twists of pepper, and the cayenne. Remove from heat. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time until well blended, then stir in the cheese. Don't worry about getting it smooth.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form firm peaks, then stir a quarter of them into the base to lighten the mixture. Fold in the rest, transfer to the prepared dish, then put in the center of the oven and lower the heat to 375° F. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and just a bit wobbly in the center. Remove, scatter the thyme over the top, and serve immediately.

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