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Daring Cooks November 2010|(a bout de) Soufflé!

I’m sure this must be some kind of pun in French, and it’s probably either makes zero sense or is really awful, but then – it goes perfectly with my November DC challenge!

Hey, I snuck in a DC challenge!!

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

I was very excited for this challenge for three reasons: one, it involves cheese, two, it is French and three, I managed to steal home to LA for about two seconds with perfect timing to make this for the husband! Hooray!!

Well – hooray for the minibreak with the husband but the soufflé definitely goes on the “fail” list (including the photo – soufflé is hard to photograph!). But it’s not on the “failI’mneverdoingthisagainneverevernever” list, it’s going on the “manIdon’tknowwhatIdidbutsomethingwasn’tright” list, which means it’ll get made again. We started out on the right path – basic crab and artichoke soufflé recipe provided (and painstakingly researched) by Dave and Linda, but even though the directions were followed, the thing just tasted like eggs. Kind of like a tough omlette. I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with the recipe and much more to do with something I did (maybe I was distracted by the husband? Absence really does make the heart grow fonder), but neither of us was overly impressed with my effort. It wasn’t just that it tasted of egg – it was like an overcooked omlette or a bad version of quiche, which made it edible, but definitely not delicious.

On the upside – these things are fairly inexpensive to make and I am fairly sure that if you do whatever I did wrong, right, you’ll come out with some spectacular results. In fact I am confident, because many other brave and daring cooks managed to pull this off spectacularly. (I know I link to Adaux a lot, but his dissertation on soufflés is remarkable, and if you’re interested in making them, I highly recommend his post).

Thanks to Dave and Linda for a great challenge – I think that Julia Child once said that her strawberry soufflé gave her trouble the first 21 times she made it, so at least I am in good company. We’ll conquer this…eventually.

Cheers.

Crab and Artichoke Soufflé

A Monkeyshines in the Kitchen recipe

Ingredients

1 cup (250 ml) 4 oz/120g crab meat, flaked and lightly-packed
½ cup (125 ml) 2 oz/60 g finely chopped cooked artichoke hearts (frozen, fresh or from a jar is OK, but please don’t use the marinated-in-oil style), Alternatively, lightly sautéed leeks would be nice here too.
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
½ tsp (2½ ml) (3 gm) (.1 oz) salt
¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) (0.05 oz) cream of tartar*
1 cup (250 ml) 2 ½ oz (75g) Gruyere cheese, shredded
½ tsp (2½ ml) (2 gm) (0.07 oz) white pepper
1 Tbsp (15 ml) (14 gm) (½ oz) butter
1 Tbsp (15 ml) (9 gm) (1/3 oz) flour
1 tsp (5 ml) (3 gm) (.1 oz) dried chives or tarragon
1 cup 8 fluid oz (250ml) milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional butter and bread crumbs for preparing the dishes
* If you can’t find cream of tartar, a dash (~ ½ tsp) of lemon juice can be substituted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5
2. Prepare dishes – you can use one 2-quart (US)/1.9 litre or six 1-cup/240 ml soufflé dishes – by buttering the dish, then coating with bread crumbs. (You may have some left over soufflé mixture if you go with the smaller soufflé dishes.)
3. Chop the artichoke hearts into ¼”/0.5cm dice. If you use frozen or from a jar, then there’s no need to cook them. If you are using fresh, then steam gently until just softened, about 5 minutes or sauté over low heat until just ever so lightly browned.
4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the flour to make a roux. – you just want to get the flour evenly blended to a paste, not cook the roux for any length of time. Gradually stir in the milk, mixing all the time. Add herbs, then the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and you have a thick sauce. Remove from heat.
5. Beat the egg yolks well and gently warm them, either according to the instructions for watercress soufflé (above) or by adding some of the cheese sauce. Gradually stir the egg yolks into the cheese sauce until well blended.
6. Add the artichoke and flaked crab meat to the cheese sauce.
7. Beat the egg whites until at the stiff peak stage
8. Fold the whites in thirds into the sauce.
9. Spoon the mixture into your baking dish and level the tops using a spatula. Be sure to wipe up any spills and make sure the edge is clean.
10. Bake for 40 min if you’re using a large soufflé dish or 25 min if using smaller dishes – the soufflé should be richly browned.

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