It just so happened that I over-ordered carrots in our last Tesco delivery. While the temptation was great to whip up a carrot cake (mmm…), I have been warned by my partner to stop making delicious, sweet things and trying to fatten us both up for the wicked witch to consume. So, I sought out something different and savoury. I can’t say that it is the healthiest of recipes but the portions definitely were of a healthy size and the salad added a nice touch to the dish – I thought !
As usual, I shopped around for some recipes and used Ecualombian and my old favourite Amanda Laird from the Christmas souffle recipe. The end result was delicious. We had 1 each for lunch and one spare for a “leftovers” lunch on the weekend. Just beware that it isn’t a quick dinner option but is worth the time and effort. Also, this one isn’t for those trying to watch their calorie intake. Hope you try it and like it!
Ingredients (makes 3 generously sized soufflés) :
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 5cm (2″) chunks
40 gms of butter + extra for dusting ramekins
30 gms of standard flour
150ml whole milk
1-2 springs of fresh rosemary leaves
50 gms of mature cheddar, grated
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
2 eggs, separated
1/2 a teaspoon of ground nutmeg (optional)
salt to suit your taste
freshly ground pepper to suit your taste
For the salad:
1 golden delicious apple, chopped into matchsticks
100-120gms of washed baby rocket leaves
1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180ºC
1. Prepare 3 ramekins by first rubbing soft butter on their insides (greasing) and then dusting them lightly with flour. “Dusting” means that you put about a tablespoon of flour into the ramekins after their insides have been coated with butter. Tilt the ramekins such that all of their base is covered with the flour (the butter will make the flour stick to it). Use the palm of your hand to tap the outside of the ramekin to make the flour move. Once the base is covered, then turn the ramekin on its side so that the flour settles on the side but doesn’t fall out. Then, slowly turn the ramekin in clockwise or anticlockwise direction so that the flour moves along with it and coats the sides of the ramekin. Again, you can tap the outside firmly with your palm to make the flour move. The end result should look like those in Picture 1 below.
2. Place the greased and dusted ramekins in a larger baking dish as you will be using this as a water bath for cooking the soufflés.
3. Peel and chop the carrots into 5 cm long bits and boil until soft. Let them cool and blend them into a smooth purée (as seen in Picture 11 below).
4. In a small pot, simmer the milk and rosemary for 15-20 mins on a really low heat. You don’t want to bring the milk to a boil or let a skin form on top. If such a skin does form, then discard it before using the milk. After 15-20 mins, discard the rosemary leaves and the milk is ready for use in the white sauce.
5. In a small pan, melt the butter (Picture 2) and add the standard flour to the butter, stirring constantly (Pictures 3 & 4). Make sure there are no lumpy bits in the sauce. The mixture will look slightly yellow owing to the yellowness of the butter but don’t worry about that.
6. Slowly add the rosemary-flavoured milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until a thick and glossy paste is formed (Pictures 5-7). Given that the mixture has butter, I found that it left the sides of the pan quite easily and was no longer sticky at this stage. Easy cleaning for me
7. To the milky-floury-buttery mixture, add the two cheeses and stir well until combined. The mix will look quite glossy at this stage (Pictures 8-10).
8. To the white sauce (or paste in my case), add nutmeg, ground pepper and salt to suit your taste (Picture 10).
9. To the flavoured white sauce, add the puréed carrots and mix well until you get a glossy, orange mixture (Pictures 11 & 12).
10. Add the egg yolks to the carrot mixture and mix well (Pictures 13 & 14).
11. Beat the egg whites into soft peaks (Picture 15), add it to the carrot mixture (Picture 16) and gently fold the egg whites in to yield a light and glossy soufflé mix (Picture 17).
12. At this stage, I realised that I’d made enough mix for 3 not 2 soufflés and had to quick grease and dust another ramekin. Divide the mixture from step 11 above evenly between the 3 ramekins. Place the spare ramekin in the same baking dish as the other two if there is space or in another larger baking dish (Picture 18).
13. Pour boiling water into the larger baking dish such that the water comes half-way up the ramekins.
14. Bake the soufflés in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the tops are fluffy and golden brown (Picture 19). Take a photograph right then because they will deflate once they cool ( I’m sure surface tension has something to do with it). If you aren’t having them right away, then, cover them in Gladwrap and chill in the fridge. They re-heat remarkably well.
15. To cut an apple into match sticks, halve and core an apple first. Slice one half into 1-2 mm thick slices. Stack 3-4 slices of apple on top of each other and slice along their length to get matchstick-style apple pieces. Repeat for the remaining slices and remaining half of apple. Apple matchsticks will oxidise and turn brown very quickly so toss them in a bit of sugar or balsamic vinegar as soon as you cut them. Alternatively, only cut the apples just before you are ready to serve.
16. Make a bed of baby rocket leaves in your serving dish. Scatter half an apple worth of matchsticks over the rocket. Sprinkle balsamic vinegar over the apple and rocket. Warm the soufflé in the microwave for 30-40 seconds or until warm but not scorching hot. Slide a sharp knife along the edges of the ramekin. If you have greased and dusted your ramekin properly, the soufflé should come away from the side with little effort. Now turn the soufflé out of the ramekin onto the salad and serve (Picture 20 and main picture above).
Le voilà !