A soufflé? On a Wednesday? Why yes! Of course. You know why? Shhhh. Because there were leftovers.
Yesterday’s roasted Hubbard squash risotto meant that there was a whole half (ha!) of a squash leftover, which amounted to about 2/3 of a cup of pulp. I had every intention of fixing something else entirely for dinner tonight, but at the store, I couldn’t find what I needed. Some nice looking steaks were on sale, and we had the squash from yesterday, so I figured I could come up with something. I told you I would. I just didn’t want to let you down.
Soufflés sound all difficult and daunting and well, they kind of are all you’ve ever read about. Like any good prima-donna, soufflés have a long contract rider with demands such as extra gentle folding of the egg whites, a very well-buttered souffle dish dusted with parmesan, a good hot oven, a clean edge, serve immediately, the list goes on and on. But don’t let this stop you from trying. Seriously. This soufflé tonight tasted amazing. It was eggy and light and a gorgeous color. A real seasonal showstopper. Try this on a night when you have a devil-may-care attitude. It might overflow. It might fall. So what? Call it rustic. It will still taste awesome. And that’s what’s important, non?
Hubbard Squash Soufflé
2/3 cup roasted Hubbard squash pulp, pureed
1 1/2 T butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 1/2 T flour
1 cup milk
1 c grated Gruyère cheese, grated
4 eggs, separated
salt, pepper, butter for greasing soufflé dishes, grated parmesan for dusting soufflé dishes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare your soufflé dishes. Butter each dish generously then add in a tablespoon of finely grated parmesan cheese and turning the dishes and patting the sides to adhere the cheese to the sides and bottom of the dishes. Place in refrigerator while you continue with the Béchamel.
In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, add the shallot and soften for three to five minutes. Sprinkle the butter and shallot with the flour, stir to combine and cook for one to two minutes to fully incorporate and remove any lumps. Whisk in the milk, allow to come to a simmer to fully thicken. Congratulations, you just made a Béchamel! Add in the grated Gruyère cheese, mix until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add in the squash puree. Mix well. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed, adding in a bit of salt along the way. After the Béchamel and squash mixture has cooled a bit, mix in the four egg yolks. Add a third of the egg whites to the squash mixture and fold lightly. Gently. Please. Once it is fully incorporated, add the rest of the egg whites and fold gently to get a relatively uniform mixture.
Pour or spoon the soufflé into the prepared dishes, keeping the edges very clean. Fill to about 4/5 full, or just below the top ridge. Clean each dish edge with a clean towel. Place dishes with a good amount of space between each on a baking sheet. Place gently in the oven for about 18 minutes. Or until the tops are nice and brown.
Serve immediately. You remember the rider.
Tonight I paired this with grilled steaks that marinated in olive oil, pepper, smashed garlic cloves and a dash or three of fish sauce. On top of those steaks, I piled a bit of carmelized onion with tarragon (butter, a whole sliced onion and a generous pinch of fresh tarragon, cooked over medium low heat until brown). Oh, and a big, fat red. Good eatin’, folks. Don’t be afraid.
Playlist included the oldie but goodie: Rock DJ, by the very silly, yet very hot Robbie Williams. His Greatest Hits: In and Out of Conciousness, is out now.