Blue Cheese Soufflé

A few months ago, Tommy and I were browsing the aisles of Costco on a Sunday afternoon with plans to make pizza for dinner that night. The problem with “browsing” at Costco is that you inevitably get sucked into buying all the amazing things that you absolutely don’t need.

Bottles of Kim Crawford priced at a reasonable $10.99 each? I’ll take five!

A lifetime supply of Dove soap? Why not, its only $10!

Giant Pepperoni pizzas on sale for $5 a piece? If they taste anything like those samples, just load them right in my cart!

Well on this given Sunday, Tommy and I were intrigued by a huge block of blue cheese. As all cheese freezes well, we figured that we could try it out (the price was right) and then continue to enjoy it for as long as it lasted in the freezer.

So we brought the cheese home to top our pizzas with and discovered that while it tasted great, it did not have the same crumbly blue cheese texture we were used to. Instead, it was more like the texture of mozzarella with the flavor of blue cheese. Once it was melted on our pizzas, we couldn’t tell the difference, but the odd texture meant that it wouldn’t work well crumbled over a salad or served with crackers.

Since that time, I have looked for hot recipes that could incorporate this blue cheese. Enter the Blue Cheese Soufflé. Despite its reputation for being difficult to make, I find soufflé to be extremely easy as long as you have an electric mixer that will whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks. I consider myself a pretty strong woman and I don’t think I have the strength (or patience) to whisk egg whites to the necessary stiffness. Thank God for my KitchenAid, because otherwise, I might not have been able to enjoy this wonderful dish.

The basic ingredients for this particular soufflé couldn’t be easier: eggs, milk, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, butter and flour.

Season this dish with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne and nutmeg, and dinner is served!

The only other special requirement for this dish is that you have a couple of souffle dishes. If you only have one – then halve the recipe and make it a light lunch or side dish to the meal.

Blue Cheese Soufflé – Serves 5 Entrees (inspired by Ina Garten’s Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 5 TB butter, plus extra for greasing the soufflé dishes
  • 5 TB flour
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 cups milk
  • 9 eggs, 9 whites and 8 yolks separated
  • 6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • S+P
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter the inside of the soufflé dishes and sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese, set aside.

Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. This is an important step. Egg whites will not beat properly if they have any egg yolk in them. For this reason, I crack one egg at a time and separate it in a separate bowl than the bowl I plan to whip the egg whites in. That way if I break a yolk by mistake (which I did last night), it won’t ruin the entire batch of whites. Just put the broken egg into a air-sealed container and make for breakfast the next day! Once you have separated all eggs (remembering to add one less yolk than you have white), place the whites into your mixing bowl and whisk on high for 2-3 minutes or until the whites are stiff.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized sauce pan over medium low heat, melt the 5 TB of butter. Once melted, added the flour and cook together, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the milk and turn the heat to medium high, whisking constantly and getting rid of any lumps. Cook for approximately 2 minutes or until thick. You know it is thick enough when the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Season sauce with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper and turn off the heat completely.

Now it is time to add the reserved egg yolks. One at a time, pour the egg yolks into the white sauce and whisk constantly until combined. It is important that you whisky quickly and often so that the eggs do not get scrambled.

Once the egg yolks are fully combined, it is time to add the blue cheese crumbles and the 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Stir everything into the egg yolk and milk sauce until well combined and the cheese is melted.

Add 1/4 of the egg white mixture to the pot and stir in completely. After combined, add the hot mixture into your egg whites, folding the whites in carefully. You do not want to over mix or your soufflé will not rise. Pour your mixture into the two soufflé dishes. Draw a large circle on top with a spatula to help the soufflé rise evenly.

Place the soufflés in the oven and turn the heat down to 375 degrees. Cook for 30-35 minutes until the soufflés have risen and the tops are slightly browned.

You can see that my soufflés rose beautifully and got a really wonderful browned top. In addition to folding the egg whites into the mixture, the other thing you can do to ensure success is to NOT open the oven door during cooking. Lowering the temperature of the oven may result in soufflés that don’t rise, and while it should still tastes good, it definitely won’t be as pretty!

Serve your soufflé with something green (I used steamed spinach with butter) and you have a completely delicious and French inspired week night dinner. Plus, if like me, you get a little overly excited at Costco, you have six ounces less blue cheese than you started with!

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