When people think of souffles, they usually picture dessert souffles, lighter than air chocolate concoctions that just melt in your mouth like a silken kiss. Savory souffles don’t get nearly enough attention and praise. In the summer, when even lifting a fork seems like too much effort, a cheese souffle paired with a nice salad is the perfect dinner. And best of all, you can have it on the table in 30 minutes.
I love cheese, but I find that a pure cheese souffle can sometimes be too much, even having a little soapy taste. To balance the cheesiness, I added a little of my latest spice pantry additions to the batter: ancho chili powder and tomato powder. The ancho chili powder is a very mild chili, giving a gentle smokey heat that paired nicely with the goat cheese. I picked up the tomato powder at the Spice House last weekend, after just one whiff of its intensely sweet tomato aroma, I knew it would do wonderful things for my dishes. It is distilled from the sweetest summer tomatoes and has no preservatives so needs to be kept in the fridge to keep it from clumping.
You can throw together this easy summer entree in thirty minutes, even less if you make the cheese part ahead of time, just whipping up the egg whites in time to throw the souffle in the oven. Get creative, try other ingredients and report back. I can’t wait to see what you do with souffles this summer.
Goat Cheese Souffle with Ancho Chili Powder and Tomato Dust
(adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
- 3 Tablespoons of Butter
- 3 Tablespoons of Flour
- 1 cup of milk, heated to boiling
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder
- 2 teaspoons of tomato powder
- 5 eggs, split into 5 egg whites and 4 egg yolks (discard the extra yolk)
- 1 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease a large souffle mold or individual souffle molds generously with butter.
- Pour the milk into a glass measuring cup and bring to a boil in the microwave. Watch to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour with a wooden spatula and cook over medium heat until the mixture foams and just begins to brown.
- Add the milk in one fell swoop and beat energetically with a whisk.
- Add the ancho chili powder and tomato powder. Stir to blend.
- Put the entire mixture back on the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Sauce will thicken considerably in a minute or two.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Fold in the egg yolks and mix well with wooden spoon.
- Add the goat cheese and stir until thoroughly blended. STOP HERE IF YOU ARE MAKING THIS PART AHEAD OF TIME. PUT THE MIXTURE IN THE FRIDGE FOR UP TO A DAY.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt into stiff peaks. When you pull away the electric beaters, the peaks should stay up and not flop back down. The salt will help the whites to remain stiff.
- Add a bit of the egg whites into the cheese mixture to soften it. Now fold in the rest of the egg whites, delicately, rotating every time you mix it. Once all has been folded together, it’s time to cook the souffle.
- Lower the heat of the oven to 375 degrees and cook the souffle for 25 to 30 minutes until puffy and golden brown. Give it another 3-4 minutes to firm up, remove from the oven, and serve immediately with a nice summer salad.