Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Which came first?

When my good friends over at the Gardenbuddies.com Food Forum suggested that we have a Revol chicken cookoff, I was excited. We had all recently purchased these really wonderful Revol roasters shaped like a chicken and people have put them to very good use. I knew right away that I would try to use it to make a dish I have never done before. Soufflé !! Yes, I was a soufflé virgin and it was about time I tried it. I thought instead of making a roasted chicken I would be creative and incorporate eggs and a soufflé was perfect. I was not sure how well it would rise in this odd-shaped dish but it was worth a shot.

For dinner we started with an appetizer salad. This was really quite simple to make. I just wrapped melon balls with slices of ham and laid them atop a bed of fresh spring greens dressed lightly with a balsamic vinaigrette. To accompany the salad I served an Alsatian riesling that was also full of melon flavors.

Sam decided to join us for a bit of salad and wine.

Let's get back to the soufflé, shall we? As I said, I have never made one before so I was a little worried about how it would turn out. I started with a basic cheese souffle recipe that I got from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Splendid Table radio show. This is from a recent guest of hers, Sally Schneider. I modified it a little bit. In hindsight I should have used a couple more eggs to get a little more height, but these proportions certainly worked out well.

16 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
6 egg whites
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp flour
1 cup skim milk (I'm trying to make it as light as possible)
4 oz gruyere cheese grated
2.5 oz parmigiano reggiano cheese grated
salt, pepper and just a tidge of nutmeg

I started by poaching the chicken breasts in salted water flavored with bay leaf and thyme until they were cooked through but still juicy and tender. These were cooled and chopped up finely. The flour was first mixed with a bit of cold milk to make a paste then dissolved in the rest of the milk. This was heated to boiling and whisked or about a minute. The flame was turned off and the egg yolks were whisked in one at a time. A little bit of salt, pepper and nutmeg were added. The base was allowed to cool to room temperature. While that was cooling I beat the egg whites until they were stiff being careful not to overbeat them. The Revol roaster was buttered and some parmigaino was added to provide texture on the sides for the soufflé to climb up. The egg whites, base, chicken and cheeses were combined and folded very gently until they were just mixed together. There were still some white streaks from the eggs, but that is ok. I turned the mixture out into the roaster and placed it in a 375 F oven. This was baked for about 40 minutes until the soufflé was risen and nicely browned on the top.

To accompany the soufflé I roasted some sweet potato spears that I lightly coated with olive oil, salt, pepper and some smoked paprika. I also roasted green beans with lots of fresh chopped garlic and lemon juice.

The soufflé was a hit. Even this last little bit got eaten before we stood up from the table. I think the perfect accompaniment to a cheese soufflé is a nice dry Rhone white wine. So I served a Chateauneuf du Pape blanc. Unfortunately the wine was a little bit off and over oxidized. Otherwise the meal would have been perfect.


Kevin said...

Chicken and cheese soufflé sounds really good. Yours looks like it rose nicely and turned perfectly golden brown.

Nilmandra said...

Meow! :D

Ooh the souffle looks lovely too, great idea.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

All looks good to me, Greg!

Oh, and your cat is a cutie - is s/he a British Shorthair?

bigfish_chin said...

hi greg,
The salad looks really good and healthy! Love it...

Astra Libris said...

Congrats on the stunningly beautiful souffle! I love the clever chicken-egg combo... :-)

Sam is such a gorgeous cat - what a wonderful photo!

Pixie said...

Very impressive Greg and I love that chicken bowl. Cute kitty too....purrr.