Kashkaval Cheese Souffle with a Creamy Red Wine and Honey Sauce.

Very tasty, and perfectly done in the center. Missing in the picture, the sauce and fresh chive garnish

Souffles have a pretty badasss reputation as a notoriously difficult dish to execute. The reality is that, while they’re not quite as easy as making a mediocre cheese sandwich, they seem to have been branded with the difficult reputation rather unfairly. A souffle, whether sweet or savoury, is a combination of two main elements; the flavour base and egg whites whisked to their maximum volume. Savoury, usually cheesey, souffles rely on making a bechamel sauce and adding cheese and egg yolks to give it the desired flavour. Like risottos however, souffles are an especially great way of customizing your very own flavor profile, you can really go crazy with whatever ingredients or flavours you can bring together in a souffle, using their lovely and pretty unique visual appeal and texture as the vehicle for the flavour.

I wanted to make a nice sharp and cheesy souffle, thus the kashkaval. and pair it with a fruity creamy sauce to give the dish an all round tasting experience. Pairing souffles with sauces can be a bit awkward, because they have to be plated separately, using a small plate or a ramekin to carry the sauce, however, I find that the added flavor combo and engagement by the diner make the method worth it. You’ll find the recipe below.

Makes 5ish 7cm diameter ramekins (make sure you butter them well)

150g of finely chopped kashkaval cheese

1 large finely sliced spring onion (whites and greens)

1 large tbsp butter

1 not so heaped tbsp of all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cup of milk

4 egg yolks

5 egg whites

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C.

In  a bowl whisk the egg yolks together, and on a medium heat, melt the butter add to it the flour and cook together for a few minutes then add the milk and whisk until they form a nice uniform sauce, bring to just about a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking the mixture for about 10min. Add the cheese and onions and stir for a few minutes until all the cheese has melted. Temper the egg yolks with the sauce (this means add a small portion of the sauce to the yolks to gently bring their temperature up so that they wont turn to scrambled eggs when cooked) then add the yolks back into the remainder of the base and stir together as you turn off the heat (if you’re using an electric stove-top remove the pot from the heat, otherwise the residual heat will continue to cook the base and turn the yolks into scrambled eggs)

Set aside the mixture and begin to whisk the egg whites, make sure you use a very clean bowl and utensils because any contamination with an oil or a fat can render the egg whites un-whiskable. Whisk the whites until they become nice and shiny white and form stiff peaks as you pull your whisk out of them. Now it’s time to add the base to the whites, start by adding half of the whites to the base, and using a spatula “cut” the two together. Mix gently and infrequently, over-mixing will cause the whites to loose their air and the souffles will not rise. Add back the remainder of the base to the base to the rest of the whites, “mixing” a few times and making sure not to over work the mix. Pour the mix into the ramekins, leaving about half a centimeter gap from the top of the ramekin. Bang the ramekins on the counter-top once to help them level. Place the ramekins into the oven and cook for about 20-25mins (I’ve read some recipes that ask for 30mins of cooking, honestly, I take mine out just after 20mins, just make sure they’ve risen fully and have browned nicely on the outside).

For the sauce

While the souffles are cooking you’ll have just about enough time to make this tasty sauce

1/2cup red wine

1/4 cup chicken stock (strong)

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 diced shallot

1/4-1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 tbsp of honey

1/2 tsp of dry thyme (or a sprig of fresh)

Over a medium heat, warm the olive oil up and then sweat away the shallot until soft (3ish min) add the stock, the wine and the thyme and let them reduce by about half. Lower the heat, then add the honey and the cream and let the sauce simmer away until service. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired. When serving the sauce, use a fine sieve to catch the bits of shallot and the thyme leave.

As I said before, serve the sauce and souffle separately, the souffles will sink back down once out of the oven quite quickly so plate them immediately before eating. Hope you enjoy.

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