February 03, 2007

Beet Greens Soufflé

6 eggs, separated
1 bunch beets, greens attached
1 shallot, minced
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons butter
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

Preheat oven to 375. Grease or spray an 8 cup souffle or baking dish. Sprinkle the bottom with 3 tablespoons grated cheese. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water and the beets, reserving greens to boil. In a small pot, scald the milk and stir in the salt and cornstarch, cook over medium heat until thickened and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, chop the beet greens and discard the stems. In a large pan, heat the butter and quickly saute shallot until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped greens and saute together, 1 additional minute. Remove the greens from the pan and place them in a food processor or blender. Add the yolks and pulse until minced. Add the scalded milk mixture, nutmeg and remaining cheese. Stir to combine. The beets should be tender by now. Remove from the water, remove the skins and chop the beets coarsely. Arrange in the bottom of the dish. Beat egg whites until frothy and then add the cream of tarter. Beet until stiff peaks form. Gently fold a quarter of egg whites into the greens and then fold the rest of the greens into the large bowl of egg whites. Pour on top of the beets in the dish and then smooth out the top. Bake 30-35 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.


My thoughts:
I have had the idea of a beet greens soufflé in the back of my mind for some time now and when I saw all of the soufflés that have been posted recently and found the most beautiful beets in the store, it felt like kismet. I have to admit, I had never made or even eaten a soufflé before today. Or beets for that matter. I think I had pickled beets once as a child and was too traumatized to try the fresh variety. So I was extra excited when it came out so well. There are a lot of little steps since you use both the greens and the beets and what with all the egg beating and sauteing, this recipe goes much faster if you have a helper. My husband did all of the chopping of the greens and sauteing and I did the eggs, cheese, pouring and beet work. The fun part of this soufflé is that it looks like a typical spinach or chard soufflé until you cut into it and see the beets on the bottom. They dye a bit of the bottom a pretty pinky purple and make a some what ethereal dish more substantial.