Easy, Impressive & Delicious, Cheddar, Leek & Tarragon Soufflé

Easy, Impressive & Delicious, Cheddar, Leek & Tarragon Soufflé

souffleWe have been making soufflé’s now at Trigony for quite a few years, they really aren’t difficult to make,  they look lovely & make a delicious starter.

The most popular one that we make is the Cheddar, Leek & Tarragon Soufflé, but the flavour combinations really are infinite, you are only limited by your own imagination!

Once you have the basic recipe, you can start to experiment with your favourite flavour combinations, for instance fish soufflé’s work very well.  We make a delicious Solway Crab,   Lemon & saffron Soufflé with a little Parmesan added for that extra piquancy & richness. If you want to  stick with  vegetables, a field mushroom & Thyme soufflé with a little grain mustard is very nice too.

In a way you could say that a soufflé is the ultimate fast food, because once you have the base made, which is basically a thick bechamel or white sauce  (it will keep for 3 or 4 days in a cold fridge) it is then no more than 15 minutes from whisking the egg whites to sitting down with the finished product!

As with the cheese shortbread recipe below, I would highly recommend Loch Arthur’s Mature Cheddar. It is easily one of the best cheddars in the country, and if you are visiting us at Trigony the Organic Cafe now attached to the Loch Arthur Dairy is well worth a trip out, if you do visit loch Arthur make sure you try the  stunning home-made baked cheese cake.

The Ingredients you will need for the soufflé base are;

  • 1 leek trimmed & finely sliced
  • a little butter for frying
  • a teaspoon of fresh chopped tarragon
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz or 115 grams of Butter
  • 4.5 oz or 130 grams of plain flour
  • 750 ml or 25 fl oz of whole milk
  • 7 oz or 200 grams of mature cheddar cheese grated

First of all heat a medium frying pan on the stove, and when it begins to smoke pop in the knob of butter  give the pan a quick swish to spread the butter evenly around the pan and pop in the leeks, tarragon & a pinch of salt & pepper, stir fry until just cooked (around 4 minutes) & set aside.

In  a small saucepan (ideally non stick)  put in the 4 oz of butter and place on a medium heat, when the butter has completely melted  and is starting to sizzle mix in the flour still on the heat, cook stirring continuously until the “roux” takes on a sandy texture.

Now while still mixing start to slowly pour in the milk, not fast enough to make the sauce watery or so slowly that the sauce becomes  to thick to stir. Carry on stirring the mixture on the heat until you have used all the milk, and you have a nice glossy look to the sauce. In order for the sauce to cook out properly and not taste floury you will need to carefully bring the sauce to the boil while still stirring. Once the thick sauce has bubbled for around two minutes you can take it off the heat  and mix in all the rest of the ingredients.

The secret to a good white sauce is the constant stirring, and its good exercise too!

For the Soufflé;

  • 1 egg yolk and white separated, per person
  • 1 large tablespoon of the soufflé mix, per person
  • 1 oven proof ramekin about 8 cm across, per person
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C

Before you start, and this is very important, you will need to re-season the soufflé mix, basically you are about to thin the soufflé mix down by adding the egg, so the base mixture needs to be slightly over seasoned to make up for this thinning down process, don’t go mad with the salt and pepper but do add just enough for the mix to be ever so slightly over seasoned according to your taste buds.

Now separate the yolks from the whites, the number will depend on how many soufflés you are making, and mix the yolks with the same number of heaped tablespoons of the soufflé base mix.

In a separate bowl whisk the whites to stiff peaks, it is worth bearing in mind that it is easy to under whisk the whites (in which case the soufflé’s will not rise) but very difficult to over whisk.

Gently pour the egg yolk and base mix over the egg whites and gently fold the two together with a spatula using a cutting and folding motion. Now gently pour the finished mixture into the ramekins so that it is 2 or 3 ml below the top (this is to prevent any spillage during the rising) and place in the oven for around 8 – 10 minutes until fully risen & golden brown on top.

Eat immediately, and enjoy!