Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rosie Treats Herself To Souffle.

I have been reading about Marilyn's (Of FoodiesUntie) ham dilemma ... what to do with the rest of a 15-pound ham. The poor woman has made ham salad, ham loaf, ham burger, ham sandwich, ham casserole, skillet ham and hash browns with cheese, ham and green beens. Did I miss anything, Mar? She finally diced and froze the rest of the ham and doesn't want to see ham again for a long, long time. Can't say that I blame her. I'm having the same problem, only on a much smaller scale. So, this morning, I'm checking out the interior of my fridge and I see a large ham lurking in the back, a container of leftover egg whites, and one sad lone egg. Immona fix me a souffle!
Most of my ingredients: egg whites egg cheddar cheese Swiss cheese heavy cream
I separated the little egg I had and poured all the whites into a measuring cup. Seems to be about 1 cup of whites.
Next I put in 2 large tablespoon glops of butter in my pan.
I melted the butter, then added about 1/4 cup of flour, (basically equal amounts butter and flour) whisking constantly over low heat.
What I have here is officially a roux, simply a combination of fat and flour which is used to thicken other sauces. A roux is used as the basis for three mother sauces in classical French cuisine. There's sauce bechamel, which is simply a milk sauce thickened by the roux. It was invented by Louis de Bechamel , of Louis XIV's court, in 1654, in an attempt to mask the flavor of the dried cod he had shipped from Newfoundland fisheries across the Atlantic to France. There's sauce veloute, which uses stock thickened by the roux instead of milk. The name means velvety in French. And there's sauce espagnole, which uses stock thickened with a brown roux and, most importantly, uses tomatoes. According to the story, the Spanish cooks of Louis XIII's bride, Anne, in preparing their wedding feast, wanted to improve upon the rich, thick French sauces by adding Spanish tomatoes, hence the name.
Next I slowly added in about 1 cup of heavy cream, constantly stirring.
Until I had a lovely smooth sauce bechamel.
I seasoned with salt, and freshly grated pepper and nutmeg. And this is the basis for my souffle.
I diced my Swiss cheese and ham and grated the Cheddar.
I beat my little egg yolk until it was light and lemon colored, then added in my bechamel sauce, whisking.
Next, I whupped my egg whites until stiff peaks formed, but not so much that they would dry out. Important note here: Whenever you're dealing with egg whites, be sure there is no yolk in the whites. Even the tiniest bit of yolk will ruin your egg whites. Also, be sure there is no water in the whites, say in the bowl or on the beaters. Again, as with yolk, the whites won't beat.
First I added in a big splat of the egg whites to the bechamel sauce and stirred it in, just to lighten the sauce.
Next I stirred in the Swiss and the ham.
Then I carefully folded in the rest of the whites, lifting and turning.
And here's my souffle mixture ready to go in the dish.
I sprinkled the cheddar on top. Once again, I had high hopes for this souffle, so I optimistically wrapped a buttered collar around my buttered souffle dish just in case my souffle rose to impossible heights. 350 degree oven for 60 minutes
Better safe than sorry.
Light, delicate, fluffy, and airy.
Just the way a souffle is supposed to be.


Sara said...

That looks great, I made a cheese souffle a while back but haven't made a souffle since. I need to remedy that soon, they're not as difficult as people make it seem!

Marilyn said...

Roasted potatoes with ham.
I will be making a frittata with some of the ham next. Even the cat is turning his nose up at the ham now.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Oh, sorry Mar if I left one out. I was getting dizzy.
Try the souffle.
It was quite good.

And, Sara, you're quite correct. Most people seem to make a big deal out of souffles, but they're very simple and well worth the effort.

And you should try the blue cheese/fig souffles I made:

It's a recipe from Tyler Florence:

And it's better with dates, I think.