Easter Dinner – Garlic Cheese Grits And Spinach Souffle

cheese grits and spinach

I was raised on cheese grits casserole.  While I love the original, I also love this updated version.

Honey is a natural flavor enhancer. While there is only one tablespoon in this recipe, the honey makes the souffle tastier without making it sweet.

Ingredients:

1½ teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup finely grated Parmesan

3 2/3 cups milk (not skim)

1 cup stone-ground or old-fashioned grits

Salt and black pepper

1½ cups grated sharp cheddar

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

6 ounces baby spinach leaves (7½ cups loosely packed)

6 scallions thinly sliced (2/3 cup), 1 tablespoon reserved

Directions:  Grease a 2-quart souffle dish with 1½ teaspoons butter, dust with 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and set aside.

In a medium non-stick saucepan bring the milk and the 2 tablespoons of butter to a simmer over medium heat. Add the grits in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until grits are thick and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan when you stir, 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in 1¼ cups of the cheddar, the remaining Parmesan, honey, garlic, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Taste the grits and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate each before adding the next. Stir in the spinach by handfuls.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are thick and glossy and hold stiff peaks. Add a quarter of the whites to the grits mixture and, using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add remaining whites and rapidly but gently fold them in along with the scallions.

Spoon the batter into the prepared dish, smooth, sprinkle with the remaining cheddar, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until the souffle is puffed, golden brown, and barely jiggles when you shake the pan, 35 to 40 minutes longer. Sprinkle with reserved scallions and serve at once.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Sweet Potato Souffle

sweet potato souffle

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Souffle:

3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, from about 2 to 3 small baked potatoes

3/4 cup honey

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, about 1 stick, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, about 1/2 stick, cubed, at room temperature

1/2 cup self-rising cake flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Souffle: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, honey, eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Topping: Combine the brown sugar, butter, flour, and pecans in a separate bowl. Crumble the topping over the sweet potato mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Serve hot.

Honey Souffles With Creme Anglaise

I love souffles, and honey souffles are pure heaven!

Ingredients

For the creme anglaise:

1 cup heavy cream
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
Pinch salt
3 egg yolks, room temperature
¼ cup sugar

For the honey soufflé:

About 2 tablespoons butter, softened, for greasing the ramekins
About ¼ cup sugar, for the ramekins
1 cup whole milk
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 egg yolks
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
4 egg whites, room temperature
¼ cup sugar

Equipment

Candy thermometer
Handheld or standing electric mixer
Handheld whisk
Pastry brush
Ramekins or ceramic mugs –  eight 2-ounce, four 4-ounce, three 6-ounce or two 8-ounce ramekins, but any size can be used

Preparation

Prepare the creme anglaise:
Combine the cream, vanilla bean, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Temper the yolks with the warm cream by slowly pouring a small amount of the cream into the yolks while whisking constantly. Add the rest of the cream to the tempered yolks and return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 180 F. Be careful not to overcook it by heating above 180 F or the anglaise will curdle and separate. To check if it is the right consistency, the custard should coat the back of a wooden spoon and a streak should remain when you run your finger through the cream.

Remove from the heat and strain again through a fine mesh sieve to ensure smoothness. The anglaise can either be served now while warm or chilled by placing the bowl in an ice bath to cool. To store, cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 1-2 hours. To serve the anglaise warm after refrigerating, slowly reheat in a microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring after each interval.

Prepare the honey soufflé:

Prepare the molds by buttering the insides with a pastry brush in upward brush strokes making sure to cover every inch of the mold. Pour a small amount of sugar into the bottom of each mold and carefully swirl the ramekin, dumping out the excess, to completely coat with a light dusting of sugar. Place the molds in the refrigerator or freezer until the soufflé mixture is prepared.

Place the milk, vanilla bean and zest in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; remove from the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Whisk together the egg yolks, honey, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Strain the milk mixture using a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup with a spout and carefully temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the milk into the eggs while whisking constantly. Pour everything back into the pot and cook over medium heat while whisking until the mixture thickens, pulls away from the sides of the pan and no longer tastes of cornstarch. Transfer to another bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Place the egg whites into a clean, dry non-reactive bowl and whisk on low speed using a handheld or standing electric mixer. Once the eggs become foamy and frothy, begin adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until all the sugar has been incorporated. Continue whipping, slowly increasing the speed, until the egg whites become very stiff. Immediately fold the egg whites into the cooled pastry cream in three additions until thoroughly combined, being careful to use a fluid motion and not deflate the egg whites.

Remove the ramekins from the refrigerator. Fill each ramekin to the top, and then flatten the tops with an offset metal spatula or the back of a knife. Clean off any excess batter that may have dripped onto the sides of the ramekins. The soufflés can now either be baked, stored for later in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours or stored in the freezer for up to 5 days.

To bake the soufflés: Preheat the oven to 350 F. If using frozen soufflés, make sure to remove them from the freezer one hour before baking. Place the soufflés on a flat baking sheet and bake on the bottom rack of the oven. The baking time will be significantly less, 7-10 minutes, if using smaller sized ramekins and about 15-20 minutes if using larger 8-ounce ramekins. Rotate the baking sheet half-way through the baking time to ensure even cooking. The soufflés are finished when they have risen 1-2 inches above the tops of the ramekins, the top has light color and they appear sturdy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle a light dusting of powdered sugar over the surface of the soufflé for a finished look. Serve immediately with crème anglaise.

Honey Corn Souffle

I love to bake souffles, and this one combines three of my favorite ingredients:  honey, corn and bacon!!

This can be served as an entree accompanied by a fresh green salad with honey vinaigrette dressing.

  • 1½ cup yellow sweet corn (I used about 3 fresh ears, but use however many will yield you about 1 1/2 cup since ear sizes vary)
  • ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • ¼ cup (4oz) flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk (I used whole)
  • four strips of fried bacon, chopped up
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs honey
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 eggs separated
  • ½ tsp Cream of Tartar

Prepare soufflé dish by buttering thoroughly and dusting with grated parmesan cheese.

Roast your ears of corn in  in a pre-heated 375˚F oven for 20 minutes. (Some kernels on the outer edges of pan will burn slightly and should be discarded.)

After removing the corn from the oven, cool and slice down to get out the kernels off. I used about 1 and a half cup of kernels.

In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the milk to a boil. (Over low heat this takes a while, so do this first. Turn the heat off the milk as soon as it reaches the boil.)

In a larger saucepan melt the butter over medium low heat. When the butter has melted, add all the flour and briskly whisk it into the butter until smooth, making sure the flour is completely absorbed. Continue whisking lightly until the flour has cooked, another one to two minutes.

When the milk is ready, add it all at once to the butter and flour, and whisk until combined and smooth. Continue to whisk for another two to four minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Turn off the heat, and set the pan aside to cool slightly.

After the mixture in the saucepan has cooled for a few minutes, whisk in the egg yolks only (reserving the egg whites), one at a time. Then add the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine. Finally, add the parmesan cheese and whisk to combine.

Add the cooled roasted corn, honey and bacon pieces to the base and whisk to combine.

Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until the egg whites stand in soft peaks (at high speed this happens fairly quickly, approximately 2 ½ to 3 minutes.)

Add approximately 1 tablespoon of the soufflé base to the egg whites, and fold in gently, using the whisk or a rubber spatula. Then add the egg whites to the soufflé base and combine by folding in with a rubber spatula or very gently with the whisk.

Transfer to the prepared soufflé dish and bake on a lined cookie sheet or half sheet pan on the lowest pan in the oven. Bake  at 325 F for approximately 50-55 minutes or until the soufflé is puffed, golden brown, and doesn’t jiggle like jello when moved. (A little jiggle is okay.)

Serve immediately to show off the soufflé at its puffiest, but for better flavor the soufflé can sit for a few minutes even though it will deflate a bit.