A recipe from Stephen Markwick
This is a classic dish from the 1970’s – either as a starter or a main course – the original recipe came from Prue Leith but it goes back to Peter Kromberg of Le Soufflé the Intercontinental. The beauty of this recipe is that the soufflés can be baked in advance and frozen, if necessary. This it pays to make a few extra while you’re at it.
Serves 10 as a starter or 4 as a main course
For the soufflḗ:
- 6 medium eggs
- 55g strong Cheddar cheese
- 55g Gruyère cheese
- 110g goat’s cheese
- 425ml whole milk
- A slice of onion
- A bay leaf
- 85g of butter
- 85g plain flour
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg
You will need 6-8 individual ramekins, dariole moulds or ovenproof coffee cups, lightly buttered
For the salad:
- 2 fresh beetroot (or more if they are small)
- 2-3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 clove of garlic
- 55g walnuts
- 125g mixed salad leaves
- A few snipped chives
For the salad dressing:
- 1 dsp Dijon mustard
- 1 dsp wholegrain Dijon mustard
- 1 dsp finely chopped shallots
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 50ml red wine vinegar
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 150ml olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A little aged balsamic vinegar
For the soufflé:
- Separate the eggs – put whites in a bowl for beating later, and the yolks for adding to the soufflé mix
- Grate the Cheddar and Gruyère and cut the goat’s cheese into cubes.
- Heat the oven to 190°C / Gas Mk 5
- Heat the milk up with a slice of onion and a bay leaf. In another pan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux (butter and flour paste), then gradually beat in the hot milk, returning the pan to the heat after each addition until the mixture is thick.
- When all the milk had been added let the mixture cook over a low heat for a few minutes then beat in the Cheddar and the Gruyè Now take the pan off the heat and season with the mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. The mixture needs to be quite highly seasoned because you are going to add a large amount of egg white.
- Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then mix in the goat’s cheese.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff then fold them lightly but thoroughly into the soufflé base using a large metal spoon.
- Fill the buttered ramekin dishes or moulds with the mixture to just below the rim of each dish then stand them in a roasting tin lined with a tea towel.
- Pour hot water into the tray just under half-way up and cook in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until well-risen and set.
- Allow the soufflés to cool a little before turning them out. (They will sink slightly but don’t worry.) You can keep them wrapped with clingfilm for a couple of days in the fridge and even freeze them. (You will need to defrost and unwrap them before heating them.)
For the salad dressing:
- Put the mustard , shallot, sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar into a bowl. Whisk with a balloon whisk then gradually drizzle in the oil, beating as you go. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Note: This dressing keeps well in a jam jar in the fridge. If it separates, give it a good shake and it should come back together again. If all else fails re-whisk with a drop of cold water..
For the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / Gas Mk 6.
- Trim the leaves and roots ff the beetroot (you can save the leaves and stalks and use them in place of spinach or chard in another dish) and wash or scrub off any mud.
- Put the beetroot on an oiled piece of foil with the thyme and garlic and season. Drizzle with a little more oil then bring up the sides of the foil and seal to make a loose parcel. Place on a baking sheet and roast them for about 45 minutes until cooked.
- If you have time it’s worth roasting the walnuts and peeling them as this gives a better flavour to the finished dish. Remove the walnut skins by putting in a coarse sieve and twirling them around with your hand. The skin drops through the holes in the sieve.
- Once the beetroot is cooked and cooled, peel it and cut into wedges. Dress the separately otherwise the colour runs everywhere. A little aged balsamic is a nice touch.
- Wash the leaves well, dry in a salad spinner, put them in a bowl and lightly dress with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
- To serve, reheat the soufflḗs in a hot oven at 200°C / Gas Mk 6 for up to 15 minutes until well risen.
- Place an individual soufflé on each plate. Divide the leaves, beetroot wedges and walnuts between the plates around the soufflé. Add a few chives for a final flourish.