Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brussels sprout and goat’s cheese souffles

Serves 4

Sprouts aren't just for Christmas don't you know, and if you still have a few knocking around in the fridge, I strongly suggest a bash at this recipe. There may also be some reminders of vast clumps of cheese still hogging fridge space sinse the festive season, so for a bit of glam with leftovers, this is as good a place to be. This is for a twice-baked soufflé, which is a good starting point if you haven’t made many soufflés before. The sprout flavour is really nice and subtle and blends in beautifully with the goat’s cheese.

25g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
225ml milk
Half a small onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
4 cloves
25g plain flour
175g Brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 eggs, separated
100g soft goat’s cheese, cut into cubes
1 tblsp finely grated Parmesan
½ tblsp Worcestershire sauce
200ml double cream
50g Emmenthal or Gruyère cheese, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 170c/Gas 3. Brush the insides of four 150ml ramekins evenly with the extra softened butter, in upward strokes. Chill until ready to use. Pour 200ml milk into a pan and add the onion, bay leaf, star anise and cloves. Heat to scalding point, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse until cold. Strain into a clean pan and discard the aromatics.

Meanwhile, mix the butter and flour into a paste and chill for about 30 minutes. Cook the Brussels sprouts in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes until tender, then drain and refresh in ice-cold water. Drain again, blend in a food processor with a splash of the remaining milk until smooth and set aside.

Place the pan of infused milk on the heat and gradually whisk in the butter paste, adding small pieces at a time, until you have a thick sauce. Season, then leave to cool for 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks, goat’s cheese, Parmesan and Worcestershire sauce. Fold in the sprouts and check for seasoning. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.

Bring a kettle to the boil and have ready a deep roasting tray. Whisk the egg whites to medium-stiff peaks, whisk a third of them into the sprout mixture to loosen, then carefully fold in the remainder. Fill the prepared ramekins with the mixture and gently level the tops with a palette knife.

Immediately stand the ramekins in the roasting tin. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up their sides and bake the soufflés for 25-30 minutes. Remove the dishes from the water and leave to cool.

Just before you are ready to serve, heat the oven to 230c/Gas 8. Run a knife round the inside of each ramekin to loosen the soufflé. Turn them out upside-down on to individual ovenproof serving dishes and drizzle the cream around. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake for about 8 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.