Serves: 3-4 as a light supper
It is generally accepted that soufflé-making is tricky and therefore not to be undertaken by anyone except the most accomplished cooks. Not true-and although a sweet soufflé can be temperamental savoury ones are child’s play. A couple of months ago I was amazed to see that none of the semi-finalists in the Great British Bake Off had ever cooked a soufflé. I can only think it must be that reputation thing again.
I always have eggs and I always have cheese so soufflés are a regular answer to a “help what can I cook tonight” supper. It is important to get the right consistency with the cheese base and to whisk the eggs to the correct stiffness. Also creating a bit steam in the oven helps with the rise. A final word: make sure everyone is sitting down at the table before producing your glorious, puffed up creation. They can wait but the soufflé won’t.
- 60g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 60g plain flour
- 450ml milk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon English mustard
- 190g grated hard cheese, either a Cheddar, Parmesan or aged Gouda or a mix of each
- 15g chives, finely chopped
- 5 large eggs, separated
- Generously grease a 1.5 litre soufflé dish with some butter. Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Place a roasting tin a third full of boiling water in the bottom of the oven-the steam will help the soufflé to rise.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour. Stir over a low heat for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk, beating out any lumps. When all the milk is incorporated cook the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mustards and cheese and continue to cook until the cheese has melted. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly- about 10 minutes. If you add the egg yolks when the cheese sauce is too hot they will start to cook. Taste and season with salt and pepper-when you fold in the egg whites the flavour will be diluted so season generously.
- Stir in the chives and egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites to stiff but not grainy peaks. Carefully fold into the cheese sauce. Pour into the soufflé dish. If you like the little hat effect on the cooked soufflé you can run a knife around the edge of the soufflé-dipped about 2cm into the mixture. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. There should be a little wobble to the soufflé when you shake it. Serve immediately with a tomato salad and some crusty bread.