Polenta, Onion and Cheese Souffle

Because I can never leave well enough alone, or be complacent with trying just one new recipe at a time (it’s the overachiever in me), I really went all out last Friday night and made this souffle to accompany the out-stand-ing chicken we had for dinner.

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photo credit: CCP

I used to be very hesitant to make souffles, but once you get the hang of it, they’re really quite simple and certainly easy enough for any night of the week.

Oh, and it does help when you have a hand mixer that works properly (thanks Mom for giving me yours!).

Just don’t ask what happened to mine….

Polenta, Onion and Cheese Souffle – adapted from epicurious

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped leek
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1/3 cup coarse polenta (or cornmeal)
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup (packed) grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter four 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and leek; sauté 3 minutes. Mix in 1 1/4 cups whole milk, then polenta; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook until thick, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and yolks in small bowl to blend. Remove polenta from heat. Stir in yolk mixture, then cheese.

Beat whites in medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold into polenta in 3 additions. Divide mixture among prepared dishes (mixture will come all the way to top of dishes).

Bake soufflés until puffed and brown on top, about 18 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Souffles

Happy Valentine’s Day! I couldn’t resist posting a chocolate dessert today, because let’s face it – it’s the one day a year that chocolate is universally given, talked about, and consumed.

Somebody hit the pause button please……… I just realized the preceeding statement sounds like something that for me, happens every day.

true story

Anyway, certain individuals might claim that souffle is a dessert to be made only for a “special occasion”.  However, in my house, any night of the week is worthy of a “special occasion” dessert. Especially one that can be prepared hours ahead, and baked while you’re relaxing/enjoying your dinner.

Life is short…. so smile, be happy, and eat chocolate.

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Photo credit – CCP – I like the filter she was trying out – with the edges of the photo blurred..

Chocolate Souffles – adapted from Alice Medrich

About 2 tbs. granulated sugar for the ramekins
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbs. unsalted butter
1/3 c. milk
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. sugar

Powdered sugar, for serving

If you are baking the souffles right away, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Butter eight 6-oz. ramekins and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the chocolate, butter, and milk in a large heatproof bowl in a large skillet of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the water bath and whisk in the egg yolks. (Don’t worry if the mixture stiffens lightly or is less than perfectly smooth at this point.) Set aside.

In a medium, dry bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Gradually sprinkle in the 1/4 c. of sugar and beat at high speed until the whites are stiff but not dry. Fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins, filling each three-quarters full. (The souffles can be prepared to this point, covered, and refrigerated for up to two days. Bake directly from the refrigerator.)

Place souffles on a baking sheet. Bake until they rise and crack on top and a wooden skewer plunged into the center emerges very moist and gooey (but the centers should not be completely liquid), 14-16 minutes, perhaps a minute or so longer if the souffles have been refrigerated.

When they are done, serve souffles immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar