Migraine town! This is where I currently am. Well, the outskirts, as I can actually see my computer screen now. I should be in bed sleeping but I’ve woken up and can’t get back to sleep now so I thought I’d write this up for you, rather then sit on the couch and literally stare at the wall.
Soufflé is one of those things that is always depicted as really difficult and just isn’t at all. It’s also something that up until recently I always felt a bit “eh” about, and it’s still certainly not a go to thing, but it’s the perfect medium to carry broad beans and goat’s cheese into flavour town.
I had intended to make little dumplings with the broad beans but they didn’t have any wonton wrappers at the supermarket and by the time I had gone to the shop it was a bit late (and I was too lazy) to go on a hunt-the-wonton expedition across the inner north so I just grabbed some goat’s cheese and headed home. The broad beans are from my garden and there are heaps more growing away so I’ll do some proper shopping and make the dumplings soon.
Broad bean and goat’s cheese soufflé
210 g shelled broad beans (this is just the weight of how much I picked after shelling)
100 g goat’s cheese
60 g butter
60 g plain flour
350 mls warm milk
8-10 150-200 ml ovenproof cups/ramekins
Pre heat the oven to 180° – this one is very definitely all about temperature so turn that oven on now.
grab a large, high sided oven tray and line it with a tea towel. Grease your ramekins with a little butter. I would also recommend that you flour them, I didn’t do this and since you’re eating them with a spoon from their cup it doesn’t matter that much, but if I could have slid them out of their cups I would have been very pleased.
very briefly blanch the beans (put into boiling water for one minute, run under cold water until cool to halt the cooking process), then pulse in a food processor with the cheese until a rough mush forms. You might have to add a little milk or water to help this process along – 2-3 TBS should be enough (a good sploosh).
separate the eggs – put the whites in a large bowl and the yolks in small bowl or cup.
Put the kettle on to boil.
Warm the milk in a small saucepan, it doesn’t have to boil or anything but it doesn’t really matter if it does. In a slightly bigger saucepan melt the butter. When the butter has melted add the flour and, stirring the whole time over a moderate heat, cook for 2 minutes. What you have here is a thick roux, we’re basically making a really thick béchamel sauce.
Take the pot off the heat and, using a whisk, stir the warm milk into the roux. You will need to stir quickly and fairly vigorously. Stir until it has a smooth consistency then return the pot to the heat. Continue to stir (you won’t need to be quite so vigorous at this stage) and cook for five minutes.
Turn off the heat, add the bean and cheese mix, and the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Add the egg yolks and stir through.
Using electric beaters, beat the egg whites until fairly stiff and creamy – they don’t have to be dry stiff, but when you lift your beaters out of the mix the whites should form soft peaks. Add half of the whites to the bean mixture and carefully fold through with a metal tablespoon spoon or spatula, then fold the rest of the egg whites through a spoonful at a time. Don’t over mix the mixture, the egg white should only be just combined and you will still be able to see little bits of white.
Working fairly quickly, spoon the mixture into the cups or ramekins (I used coffee cups because I don’t have any ramekins), put the ramekins into the tea towel lined tray and fill the tray with boiled water from the kettle so that the water comes at least a third of the way up the cups.
Being careful, and using oven mitts or two tea towels because you are holding a heavy tray full of boiling water, put the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes. To check if they’re done, slowly open the oven door and press one of the soufflés lightly with a finger – it should be springy and give a little but not be wobbly inside, they should also be nicely browned on top.
I served these with zucchini, asparagus and basil sautéed in a little butter and olive oil and a sweet and spicy tomato sauce.