bacon and parsley soufflé with a hidden poached egg
I was quite excited by his month’s Daring Cooks challenge – finally something to really get my teeth into!
Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two 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.
Achieving a perfect soufflé is a mission in itself but I decided to take it a step further and attempt Michel Roux‘s Bacon and Parsley Soufflés with Eggs ‘en Surprise’. It was a bit of a juggling act prepping ingredients, poaching eggs, blanching and frying bacon, making the bechamel and whisking egg whites. To complicate things further, I put the ramekins in a rather narrow and deep bain marie so had huge problems getting them out. Hence by the time the soufflés were camera-ready, they had sunk a little.
In spite of this they tasted heavenly. Fluffy parsley flecked souffle with bits of bacon, a touch of gruyère and an oozing soft-yolked egg within – a posh croque madame of sorts. I would highly recommend making these for a brunch where you’re seeking to impress. The processes themselves are simple, but it’s no easy task balancing all the tasks – you’ll need to be very organised to pull off making more than four at a time. If you do manage it, the “surprise” in these airy wonders will be sure to delight your guests.
Bacon and Parsley Soufflés with Eggs ‘en Surprise’
(from Michel Roux’s ‘Eggs’)
50g gruyère (or comté), grated
160g streaky bacon, cut into small lardons
20g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
6 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
8 medium egg whites, at room temperature
4 whole medium eggs, at room temperature
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp groundnut oil
250ml whole milk
20g plain flour
small bunch of parsley (leaves), finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F ). Butter 4 soufflé dishes (10cm) and coat the insides with the grated cheese.
Poach the Eggs: Add the vinegar to a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Break an egg into a small vessel and tip gently into the pan at the point where the water is bubbling. Repeat with the other 3 eggs and leave to poach for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon (press lightly to check it’s properly cooked) and transfer to a bowl of iced water.
Make the Béchamel: Melt the butter in a small pan on a medium heat. Add the flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the milk (while you continue to stir). Bring to the boil and let it bubble for a minute or two before pouring into a bowl. Season lightly, then quickly whisk in the egg yolks. Cover bowl and leave to cool slightly.
Prepare the Bacon: Put the lardons in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cook briefly for 30 seconds then remove, refresh under the tap, drain and pat dry. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the blanched lardons for a minute to colour. Drain and set aside.
Put the kettle on.
Make the Soufflé Mixture: Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Immediately whisk in a third of the warm béchamel mixture, then with a large spoon fold the rest in with one hand while showering in lardons and parsley with the other (much easier if you just ask someone to help you with this!). Stop mixing as soon as the mixture is amalgamated.
Pour the boiling water from the kettle into a medium bowl and place in the poached eggs to warm for 30 seconds. Remove and drain well.
Assemble the Soufflés: Two-thirds fill the prepared dishes with the soufflé mixture then carefully place a poached egg in the centre. Spoon over more of the soufflé mixture and fill up to 5mm above the rim.
Place the dishes in a bain marie and pour the boiling water from the bowl to surround, top up with warm water from the tap to come to halfway up the dishes.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until risen and coloured on the top. Serve IMMEDIATELY!