Swede and Cheddar Soufflé

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Soufflés rarely taste of much, the large volume of whisked egg white deadens most flavours. Those that work best rely on powerful ingredients such as chocolate or passionfruit. Savoury soufflés are usually cheese-based, often Gruyère, and can have the same problem. Extra cheese improves the flavour but gives a gooey mixture that is inclined to slide down the side of the soufflé dish as it cooks rather than towering erect above it. This swede (rutabaga) and Cheddar version succeeds on the flavour front but will need a collar to create the full visual effect.

Ingredients

  • 450g (1 lb) swede (rutabaga), peeled and diced
  • 50g (2 oz/½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 40g ( oz/4 tablespoons) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • a little milk (optional)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 175g (6 oz/ cups) grated Cheddar cheese
  • salt and black pepper

Method

Boil the swede in a covered pan until tender – this will take around 25 minutes depending on the size of your dice. When cooked, drain the water into a jug for later use.

Wipe the pan clean then, over a low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a roux, then cook gently for 1 minute.

Measure out 350ml (12fl oz/ cups) of the swede cooking water, making up the difference with some milk if necessary. Pour this liquid, one-third at a time, onto the roux, stirring after each addition, until the sauce reboils and thickens.

Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Mash the swede and season it with salt and pepper. Stir in the sauce, then the egg yolks. Make sure everything is well mixed.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon of salt until stiff.

Turn the swede mixture into a bowl and stir in one-quarter of the whisked egg white. This will loosen it enough to successfully fold in the remaining egg white and the grated Cheddar.

Spoon the mixture into a buttered 1,litre ( pint/ cup) soufflé dish – collar attached – trying not to spill too much around the rim of the dish or onto its collar.

Bake the soufflé for 45 minutes. Remove the collar and serve as soon as possible.

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