November 30, 2011

Spinach Souffle like Julia Child

Souffle sounds scary. It sounds like one of those dishes that require special tools and ingredients. I have visions of tv shows (I Love Lucy maybe) where the souffle collapses as soon as it's put on the table and Mom breaks down in tears, deflated and defeated. Souffle takes courage. I guess I figured why not walk on the wild side and take a chance. What did I have to lose, some eggs? We always have plenty of those around here. Some spinach, pretty cheap, so go for it. WWJD: what would Julia do? She had plenty of failures and on tv, no less. I could hide mine in my house if it didn't work.

After I made this the first time, I have made it again, and again, and again. I LOVE this dish. It turns out souffle is not hard. As a bonus this recipe uses 9 eggs and it tastes great. I make it for company and people are so impressed. It looks like I worked at something. Try it out on your family and master the timing and you too will have a "company recipe" in your arsenal. Just remember to serve it right away. This thing deflates fast (fyi, it still tastes good after it deflates). The photo below was not taken fast enough to show you how high it will puff up, it had already deflated. And you don't need a souffle pan or a parchment collar to make this. I used my trusty pyrex dish which I use for every vegetable under the sun.

Spinach Souffle
Julia Child

1 tbsp minced shallots (or use sweet onions)
1 tbsp butter
3/4 c chopped frozen spinach
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 c milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 c grated Swiss cheese (I've also used cheddar, gruyere, and gouda)
5 egg whites

Defrost the spinach in a colander. Squeeze most of the water out of the spinach with a couple paper towels. Cook the shallots and 1 tbsp butter in a saute (like a frying pan with higher straight sides) or frying pan on medium for 1 minute. Add the spinach and salt, stirring around, until the spinach seems REALLY dry. Remove the pan from the heat.

Butter a 6 cup souffle dish and sprinkle it with some of the grated cheese. Set it off to the side. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, melt 2 1/2 tbsp butter. Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, this should bubble. Remove from heat and pour in milk. Beat with whisk until blended. Return to heat and bubble again, stirring with the whisk. This stuff is going to get thick, when it's like are ready to add the egg yolks one at a time.

Add the egg/ flour base to the spinach off to the side. Add the remaining swiss cheese and you'll have a gooey mess like this.

Get our your mixer and wire whip attachment to whisk your egg whites. Put the egg whites in a large bowl with a dash of salt and beat on high until you have white stiff foam.
Carefully fold in the spinach to the whipped egg whites. Folding means you slowly and gently flip the ingredients around each other. The idea here is you don't want the egg whites to deflate all those little bubbles they have made. 

Pour your mixture into the prepared souffle dish. Put in the oven and turn it down to 375 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. Serve Immediately!


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