MY FIRST SOUFFLE! And that was worth e-shouting about! Souffle's are one of those daunting dishes full of strife and complication. Perils that rival seafaring colonists of yesteryear. Rumor has it that a cough or loud noise will make your souffle fall, though this may be more of a myth. Souffle's by nature are made to fall once removed from the heat. In fact, souffle itself means to "blow up" or in cooking terms "Puff up". It is the distinct combination of cream sauce with thick eggs yolk combined with whipped stiff egg whites. When heated through the dish "puffs". Once removed from the oven, it falls as it cools. That's the nature of the beast. For the record, mine did not fall, ever. It was fabulous.
I've always wanted to try a souffle but never quite had the guts. The mixing and combining of the ingredients is a simple task. I was never quite sure what there was to fear. In my ever growing addiction to the Food Network, I discovered Giada making a savory version from her Husbands family. I figured this would be as good a recipe as any to cut my teeth on.
I changed VERY LITTLE about the recipe. I do think a very important tip on this one though: Get all your ingredients READY to go before making. The sauce comes together very quickly. Basically in the time the KA Mixer takes to whip the egg whites, the sauce is finished.
Unsalted butter for greasing the souffle dish, plus 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons), at room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mild Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 package frozen chopped spinach
3 roasted/baked chicken breasts, cubed
6 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 (1/2-inch thick) slices country-style white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 egg whites, at room temperature
Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart souffle dish. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 stick of butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses, the spinach, chicken, egg yolks, and bread cubes. Stir until combined (mixture will be thick).
Using a KA Mixer with Whisk Attachment, beat the egg whites at high speed until they hold stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the chicken mixture. Using a spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the batter into the prepared dish and bake until the souffle is puffed and the top is firm and golden, about 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.