Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge!
Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
For my souffle, I choose the Three Sisters.
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of some Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans.
The three crops are planted close together. Flat-topped mounds of soil are built for each cluster of crops. Several maize seeds are planted close together in the center of each mound. When the maize is 6" tall, beans and squash are planted around the maize, alternating between beans and squash.
The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, which helps prevent weeds. The squash leaves act as a "living mulch", creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both and therefore together they provide a balanced diet.
I made a base with puree of roasted butternut squash, baby Lima beans, chickpeas, cream-style corn aromatics, spices and toasted Pepita's. I add that to a standard bechamel sauce and will add a dry grated cheddar cheese.
I know from making a polenta souffle, the denseness of the base effects the rising power of the egg whites so I always like to add 2 extra ones for the normal amount usually asked for in a basic recipe.
I thought long and hard about what the spices or flavorings would be, and since the squash is native to the Americas, I chose chili powders.
First thing I did was whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Knowing I would be doing this hours before, the stiffer the better. I will have to rewhip them right before folding into the base.
Roasted Butternut Squash
* 1 large peeled, deseeded butternut squash, cut into 1” chunks
* 1/2 head of garlic, separated into peeled cloves (about 7-8)
* 6 large sage leaves
* 3 tablespoons of olive oil
* Salt & Pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup Pepitas or sunflower seeds, shelled
* Cedar planks or papers for baking
* 1 tsp New Mexico chili powders (I make a blend using 1 part ancho powder, 1/2 part guajillo powder, 1 part negro pasilla powder and 1 part hatch peppers)
* Oven set to 425 degrees.
Spread first 5 ingredients on planks on rack or papers on a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.
Last 5 minutes throw in seeds. Remove to bowl.
Cool and puree, add chili powder and taste.
Three Sisters Souffle
* 1/2 cup baby Lima's, defrosted
* 1/2 cup squash puree
* 1/2 cup chickpeas
* 1/2 cup cream style corn
* 4 yolks
* 6 egg whites
* pinch of cream of tartar
* 3 T butter
* 3 T ww flour
* 1 cup milk
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 cup finely grated smoked cheddar cheese
I gently folded in the egg whites until only small streaks of white were showing.
I baked it at 375F for 40 minutes.
I have made a few souffles over the last year and they are really quite easy as long as you have everything prepared ahead of time and you bake it right before serving. You can make the base a day or two in advance and the only thing left would be the egg whites, which can be stored in the fridge.
Just bring them to room temperature while the oven is preheating and since it only takes 2-3 minutes to whip them, let the Kitchen Aide do that while you set the table.
It was light, airy, extremely tasty (for a total vegetarian base), and even though we ate it solo, I think it would be a wonderful side made in a small ramekin.