Parsnip Soufflés

February 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm 11 comments

Parnips and eggs

I realize I’ve left you for nearly a week without a new recipe.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Actually, I do.  I was thinking how nice it would be to get away and enjoy a little winter sporting, namely cross country skiing at beautiful Crystal Lake.  So, instead of cooking and writing a post over the weekend like usual, I got some gear together and headed north with D.  

Ski mosaic

Before any of you ski enthusiast out there start thinking about leaving comments regarding the technicalities of cross country skiing and my experiences, let me put a stop to it right here.  I’m thatperson, the one puttzing around the trails, falling at least once every mile and laughing at myself.  I am not a good skier, but I do love being out in the snow, filling my lungs with clean winter air and getting some much needed vitamin D from the sun’s rays.  I spend as much time stopped, gazing out among the towering pine trees at some bit of wildlife, as I do gliding along on my skis. 

Souffle Mosaic

So that’s what I did this weekend instead of blogging.  Now, more importantly, let’s talk about what I did rigtht before I left for this mini-vacation.  I made my very first soufflés ever.  They were Parsnip Soufflés to boot.  Fancy, eh? 

I’m not sure why I’d never made a soufflé before last week – probably something to do with my general disinterest in heavily egg-y savory dishes – but I’m quite happy I finally gave soufflé-ing a shot.  Yes, they deflated within moments of exiting the oven, but the color was gorgeous and, thanks to the parsnip, the flavor was complex and not at all eggy.   On the flip side of that coin, these soufflés are heavy on the parsnip “zing” so if you’re not a huge parsnip proponent, it might not be the recipe for you. 

Parnip Souffles

About those parsnips:  this was a bunch of small tender roots that’d been hanging out in my crisper drawer since early October (5 months!) and were still in tip-top shape.  I got them from the farm since the ones planted in my garden last year failed to yield anything of merit (I waited to sow the seed until too late in the season).  If you’re keen to eat locally all through the winter, parsnips are a great root vegetable to buy in bulk at your farmers market.  Stored in a cool location with moderate humidity (i.e., a dry basement), they will last you all the way through to spring, assuming you don’t gobble them up before in tasty dishes such as this. 

Mixture diptych

Shall I impart what little I’ve learned from this first stab at soufflés?  I’d recommend using a flat bottomed ramekin instead of the little rounded bottomed Corelle bowls I used for the sake of photos.  I’m pretty sure the ramekin shape will help “push” the soufflés up the sides and make them a little bit more stable.   Also, fill those ramekins pretty darn full to get the best puff.  I was fearful of overflow, but I really shouldn’t have been.  And finally, don’t overbeat the egg whites and make them too stiff and dry.  I did just that, thinking it would help keep the air in the soufflé.  But all I really managed to do was make it very difficult to thoroughly combine the whites with the rest of the mixture, causing little pockets of dry egg white to show up in the finished dish.  Live and learn, right?

Alright, now that I’ve exposed my tender new soufflé soul, please tell me who among you has baked a soufflé and what your successes and failures have been.  Got any tricks?  I’m contemplating a rutabaga version of this recipe and would love to get any pointers before I undertake that endeavor.  

Parsnip Souffle

 

Parsnip Soufflés
Adapted from Eat Feed Autumn Winter

2 T. dry bread crumbs
1 C. chopped parsnip
2 T. butter
1/2 C. milk
2 T. (scant) flour
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 C.  grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 t. dried marjoram or minced rosemary
pinch of salt

Butter two ramekins or ovenproof mugs.  Dust each with bread crumbs and set aside. 

Scrub the parsnips and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Cook in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender.  Drain and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Place the cooled parsnip in a food processor and add the butter, milk, and flour.  Puree until smooth.  Add the egg yolks, cheese, herb and salt.   Process until thoroughly combined.  Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff.  Carefully fold the whites into the parsnip mixture in small batches.  Divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins, filling almost to the top.  Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until puffed and golden, being careful to never slam the oven door!  Serve immediately. 

(serves 2)

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. De in D.C.  |  February 24, 2009 at 12:05 am

    I’ve only made souffles a couple times, but you can use a hard grated cheese (like Parmesan) to dust the ramekins instead of bread crumbs.

    I thought of you, and your rutabaga revolution, when I was making a rutabaga gratin for dinner this evening ;)

    Reply
    • 2. Jennie  |  February 24, 2009 at 8:11 am

      De – I’m so pleased that you remember the rutabaga revolution!! I can hear the drums beating and the chants for “wadda we want?” “more rutabaga!” even as I type. ;) Rutabaga Gratin, eh? Where might one find that recipe…. ? :)

      Reply
  • 3. Adelina  |  February 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Parsnip Souffle…hmmm…very very interesting! Definitely looks very attractive!

    Love your picture, espcially the addition of the sea holly. Do you grow them yourself? How difficult is it to grow these? I love sea holly and want to know if it’s suitable to grow where I live, which is in Texas.

    Reply
    • 4. Jennie  |  February 25, 2009 at 6:33 pm

      Adelina – Thanks for the lovely comment. It is sea holly (Eryngium> in the pictures. I did not grow this particular bit myself although I do have a plant in my garden that blooms in the spring/summer. They’re really rather weedy plants when they’re happy so very easy to grow. I tend to hesitate to advise you to try it though as they are more of a cold climate plant. That being said, I don’t really know that they won’t grow in TX. I’m going to check my big ol’ encyclopedia of plants and see if it mentions anything. What USDA hardiness zone are you in? In zones 7 or 8, I think they’d do just fine.

      Reply
  • 5. Lauren  |  February 25, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Your souffles look lovely!

    I grew up in an area outside of Philly with a lot of open land, so I’m no stranger to cross-country skiing – love it!

    Reply
  • 6. eggsonsunday  |  February 25, 2009 at 11:59 am

    What a great idea to do parsnip souffles…I just began making more souffles this past year, too. They’re so magical. :) The straight-sided ramekins have worked well for me so far, but I think your cups look very pretty. Gorgeous pictures, as always! Is that echinops or sea holly in the top photos?

    Reply
    • 7. Jennie  |  February 25, 2009 at 6:20 pm

      Eggsonsunday – Good to know that souffles imporve with practice. I’ll use the ramekins next time. :) Those are indeed sea holly in the picture. Though, if you go by latin names, they’re Eryngiums , not Echinops . I often associate the two myself even though they’re in different plant families. Eryngiums are actually in the celery family! Weird, huh? :)

      Reply
  • 8. Dana  |  February 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    First of all, your photos (all of them!) are just gorgeous.

    I have made fairly basic souffles from a Food and Wine recipe and they turned out fantastic. One was basic and the other had shiitake mushrooms and Gruyere cheese. I was nervous about making them but the turned out awesome. I did use flat bottomed ramekins and they didn’t fall as much.

    Reply
    • 9. Jennie  |  February 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm

      Dana – Thanks! I’ll have to look up that basic recipe and practice more souffles!

      Reply
  • 10. Carrot Souffle « Voila!  |  January 3, 2010 at 9:43 am

    […] January 3, 2010 by Emily I love vegetable souffles. They make an excellent side dish to any meal and are super easy to make. You might be thinking: oh souffle, too fancy, too complicated. Think again my friend! It’s amazing that an easy combination of vegetables, spiced and whipped eggs can yield such a delightful dish. If you’re not into carrots (or are allergic like my brothers), then try this parsnip souffle. […]

    Reply
  • 11. 济南二手房  |  January 3, 2010 at 10:16 am

    济南二手房网来参观过了,博主的博客还不错,留个脚印,以后还能来,呵呵。

    Reply

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