Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Parsnip & Cheese Soufflé

Soufflés in general are not as difficult as their reputation would suggest; the hard part is getting your diners to the table before the inevitable collapse of your soufflé. Better to have people wait upon the soufflé, than to have the soufflé wait upon people.

This one was particularly easy to make, since so much of it can be done right in the cooking pot, and it deflated slowly, with dignity, and not excessively. And was very tasty, and well received!

Our parsnips were not great this year, as I they came up spottily and yet I did not thin them as required, so simultaneously sparse and crowded. However, the seeds must have blown around a bit, as I found several good ones growing in the bean bed when I cleaned it up, and a really magnificent one growing in the compost pile. A clue; but I already knew they like rich, moist soil. It's finding them some that is the trouble.

6 servings
1 hour 10 minutes - 40 minutes prep time

500 grams (1 pound) parsnips
100 grams (1/4 pound) peeled celeriac
200 grams (1/2 pound) Edam, Gouda, or Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons soft unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Clean, trim and slice the parsnips, about 1/2" thick. Peel and slice the celeriac to match. Put them in a fairly large (1 quart) pot with water to cover them - about 1 1/2 cups - and bring to a boil. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes.

While they cook, cut the cheese into fairly small dice. 

Drain the cooked vegetables, saving the cooking water and keeping them in the pot. Return the pot to the stove over medium heat, and add the butter and flour. Mix it in well, then add the salt, the cumin seeds ground, and the mustard. Add 1 cup of the vegetable cooking water, stirring it in well. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly, then remove it from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 1 to 1 1/2 quart fairly shallow baking pan.

Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the pot of parsnips, etc, and the whites to a clean non-plastic mixing bowl. Mix the yolks into the the vegetables thoroughly. Mix in about 1/3 of the cheese cubes.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites, and beat them with an electric mixer until very stiff. Fold them gently into the vegetable mixture. When they are in, scrape it all into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese cubes evenly over the soufflé, poking them down just a little.

Bake the soufflé for about 30 minutes, until puffed and brown. Serve at once!

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