Chicken and Cheddar Souffle


I am a self admitted book nerd.  I've never before made a souffle, largely because some book I read as a kid talked about how difficult they are and that you can't even sneeze when you have a souffle baking or it would fall.  I have no idea how true this is.

I made this recipe from Giada to go along with Pancetta and Saffron Rice, and it came out awesome.  I was sort of nervous about what my boys would think, since it's an egg dish and M doesn't like eggs.  He said it was pretty good.  A wouldn't eat the chicken, but liked the rest.  E devoured it... every bite.

Instead of buying a rotisserie chicken, I went ahead and baked chicken breasts in the oven.  I brushed them with oil, sprinkled black pepper and Italian seasoning over, and baked for 20ish minutes on 350. 


So, after being so daunted by souffle, this one turned out great.  Don't be put off by the directions calling for a souffle dish; who has a souffle dish?  I used an 8x8 Pyrex dish, which I sprayed with canola spray.  It made a TON of dishes, though, so be aware of that.  I also was thinking it would be pretty tasty with the addition of mushrooms.  Really, this is a great big open book of a recipe--don't like spinach?  Add in something else, take out chicken, etc etc.

Chicken and Cheddar Souffle
from Giada De Laurentiis

Unsalted butter for greasing the souffle dish, plus 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons), at room temperature 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 cups shredded mild Cheddar 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 2 packed cups baby spinach leaves 1 store-bought, rotisserie chicken, breast meat only, skinned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups) 6 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten 2 (1/2-inch thick) slices country-style white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 6 egg whites, at room temperatureDirections
Special equipment: a 2-quart (8-cups) souffle dish

Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart souffle dish. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 stick of butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses, the spinach, chicken, egg yolks, and bread cubes. Stir until combined (mixture will be thick).

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at high speed until they hold stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the chicken mixture. Using a spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the batter into the prepared dish and bake until the souffle is puffed and the top is firm and golden, about 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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