Lily's Savoury Soufflé

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Mom almost never cooked as far as I can recall, save that one pineapple fried rice episode. Not because she wasn't culinarily inclined, she just never needed to cook. That being said, I credit her resourcefulness and her palate that there was always delicious food on the table.

Tante Lily was a constant source of that good food, and this recipe made its way to our table on plenty an occasion. This soufflé works wonderfully for brunch or lunch and would be cooked in a large casserole dish to feed a crowd. And just like a soufflé, egg yolks are mixed into the roux, then the beaten whites are folded in to aerate the batter.

This recipe lends itself to a host of possibilities for fillings. Tante Lily usually makes chicken and vegetable soufflé, ham and cheese soufflé, and has even included fish on one occasion. Here, I've made a vegetarian version with frozen vegetables. Hey, you can even make it a clean-your-fridge exercise. Much like a quiche, all you need is to get the ratio of eggs to milk right, and the rest is up to the imagination.

I really liked the spongy and airy texture of the batter, and the pinch of nutmeg and dash of Tabasco truly heightened it and made this a delectable treat. A salad on the side would be ideal for light fare.

They also look cute in individual ramekins, but seriously? I may have to down two of this to call it lunch.

Tante Lily always wants to know when I make her recipe, so I'll have to dash off and send her a picture now. She will undoubtedly be thrilled as much as I am grateful :)

180 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
180 g (1-1/2 cup) all purpose flour
800 ml (3-1/3 cup) milk
6 eggs, separated
200 g (2 cups) cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp salt
2 dashes Tabasco
400 g (2-3 cups) diced vegetables (I used a frozen vegetable medley)
100 g (1 cup) cheddar cheese, grated
50 g (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 165C or 325F.
2. Butter a 9x13 inch casserole.
3. In a large pan, make a roux by melting the butter, then incorporating the flour with a wire whisk until bubbly.
4. Add the milk, a 1/4 cup at a time while whisking vigorously.
5. After it burps and boils, turn off the heat.
6. Whisk in the egg yolks, cheese, nutmeg, white pepper, salt, and Tabasco.
7. Fold in the vegetables.

8. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites till stiff.
9. Fold in egg whites to the vegetable mixture, transfer to the buttered casserole.
10. Top with the grated cheddar and Parmesan.
11. Bake until golden brown and until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

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