Thursday, December 16, 2010

Butternut Squash Souffles

Featured Ingredient: Butternut Squash

Well, the weather up here is now officially awful. But at least I have butternut squash. This cold weather gourd is teeming in beta-carotene, an antioxidant used to rev up the immune system to help keep winter sniffles at bay. Antioxidants like beta-carotene are also protective molecules that help fight off free radicals before they unleash their fury on cells in the body.

Winter squash are as versatile as they are nutritious, starring in soups, stews and even baked goods. As I recently learned, pureed squash also works wonderfully in soufflés. This was my first crack at adapting a ramekin soufflé recipe to the muffin tin. No problem with the rising and fluffiness, but about half of them took a noise dive in the center shortly after they were removed from the oven. I’m thinking this is kind of normal, but if there are any soufflé experts out there who could weigh in on this I’d appreciate it.

No matter how they looked, this is one dish where the combination of ingredients creates a flavor greater than the sum of its parts. You could also use other winter squash, pumpkin and sweet potato in this recipe.

Butternut Soufflés

Adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup grated Swiss, Gruyere, or Emmental cheese
3 large eggs, separated

Steam or boil butternut squash until very tender. Puree with a potato masher or in a food processor. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in flour; cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

Gradually whisk in milk and whisk constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in 1 cup of the butternut puree, then egg yolks, one at a time.

In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt with a whisk or hand held mixer until stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/4 of whites into cheese mixture. Gently fold in the rest.

Divide mixture among 12 prepared muffin cups and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to open the oven door as this can muck up with the rising.

1 comment:

  1. Made these tonight. They were FANTASTIC! My daughter, who is a little over a year old, loved them too. :)


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