We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Souffle

Last night we feasted for Saint Nicholas Day!  I'd planned on making a Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Souffle, but couldn't find the recipe, so I dug out Joy of Cooking and tweaked a basic souffle recipe there.  This isn't a traditional souffle...it is a little easier, but just as DELICIOUS!

Here's my recipe...

Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Souffle  

2 lg onions (get the sweetest ones you can find - the flatter the sweater), very thinly sliced
1 T olive oil (or so)
2 T butter

In a large saute pan, drizzle the olive oil and drop in the  butter warm over med heat.  When the butter has melted and just starts to bubble, drop in the onions all at once.  Give them a good salting and lower the heat quickly to low.   (The salt, which "sweats" the onions, is essential to this, so be sure to use it!)  Let the onions cook very slowly, stirring regularly until very soft and almost "melty".  This will take 15 minutes, or so...maybe a bit longer?

You can then prepare the souffle (or set the onions aside and use later - I did this to save a little time at dinner.  Started the onions about an hour before and left them covered on the stove until I was ready to make the souffle.)  You want your souffle to be the last thing ready for the table.

Basic "Blender Cheese Souffle" from Joy of Cooking 
(Makes about 6 servings.  Firmer than a fancier souffle - but every bit as delicious!  I don't have a blender, so I used my food processor):

Prepare a souffle baking dish (something round and with fairly high sides...I use a 9in round baking dish with about 4" high sides) by buttering the bottom and sides well.  Dust the sides only with grated parmesan cheese (keeps the souffle from rising too high, and adds flavor, but otherwise not essential).

Preheat oven to 325.

You'll need:
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese (JoC recommends cubed, but I used grated)
1 1/2 c milk
2 T butter
6-8 pieces of crustless bread, torn into large pieces (I used day old french bread with the "crust"...pieces about 1" big)
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
4 egg yolks,
4 egg whites

Have the butter, bread, salt and pepper ready as you need to add them quickly and all at the same time.

Heat the milk just to boiling.  (I accidentally boiled mine, just let it cool a moment before using in the recipe).  Pour milk into blender (or processor) and quickly add the butter, bread, salt and pepper.  Blend (or process) until thickened.

Add the cheese and blend a bit more.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until lemon-colored.  Add the cheese mixture very slowly, beating constantly.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry.  Fold them into the cheese and egg yolk mixture, gently.  Add the onions.

Pour mixture into your prepared souffle dish and bake 50 minutes or until set.  (It should have a bit of golden amber color on the top and a nice "lift", but won't be way up over the top of the dish.)

Serve quickly for the most drama...but fallen is equally tasty!

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