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Ham, Leek and Gouda Soufflé

October 18, 2012

While the Butter Bar may have stolen the spotlight at our petite celebratory brunch, this soufflé made for a perfect main course. Granted, it does take a bit more effort than scrambled eggs or breakfast casserole, but it’s really not complicated, and certainly feels like a special occasion dish. It also works out nicely for entertaining – you can prepare the soufflé base the night before, then just stir in the egg whites and pop it in the oven before guests arrive.

See, it really did rise.

Ham, Leek and Gouda Soufflé, adapted from Food & Wine

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons butter
2 sliced leek whites and light green parts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter for brushing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
6 ounces diced ham
6 large eggs, separated
5 ounces shredded aged Gouda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375˙. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet and saute leeks until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and cayenne.

Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the Gouda, ham and leeks. (can be refrigerated overnight at this point)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form (meaning the peaks will stand and not fall). With a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the soufflé base until no streaks of white remain. (Can prepare up to an hour ahead of baking.)

Butter an 8 cup souffle dish, then sprinkle the inside with the Parmesan to coat the sides. Spoon soufflé mixture into the dish. Run your finger along the inside edge of the dish to help the soufflé rise evenly. Using a butter knife, draw a circle about an inch smaller than the dish along the top of the soufflé.

Bake for 45 minutes. Do NOT open the oven door to check on it, or the soufflé will not rise properly.

Alternately, you can cook in 8 individual soufflé dishes for 20 minutes at 400˙.

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