Carrot Soufflé

Okay, if you are like me, you’ll hear the word “soufflé” and think, “too much work, too hard.” Let me assure you that not only is this carrot soufflé as easy as they come, it’s gobsmacking good. My father made a half batch a couple weeks ago and the three of us devoured it within minutes. He then made a full batch a few days ago, left for an hour and returned to find a third of it gone (that would be my doing). “Hey, you know it serves eight!” Uh huh. Or just the three of us. The rest was gone by the end of the day. Dad found the recipe in a recent issue of House Beautiful. The recipe credit goes to Sam Beall, author of The Blackberry Farm Cookbook: Four Seasons of Great Food and the Good Life. Other than its impossible-to-screw-up-ness and over-the-top deliciousness, I also love how easily this recipe lends itself to adaptations. I want to make a parsnip version of it (maybe with a bit of horseradish and parsley). Or one could dress it up further with a touch of ginger or thyme.

This soufflé isn't nearly as touchy as a traditional soufflé. In fact it's hard to mess up. It barely puffs up, which means it doesn't deflate that much either. You might want to experiment a bit with the seasonings, such as some ginger, ground or fresh minced, some thyme, maybe a little orange zest, or a pinch of coriander. You might also try substituting all or some of the carrots with parsnips. Just remember the better the inputs, the better the results. A good use of carrots from the farmers market, or organic carrots which tend to be sweeter and more flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • Salt for salting cooking water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup Saltine cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 Tbsp room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 large eggs

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

2 Place carrots in a saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Strain the carrots and purée in a food processor or with an immersion blender.

3 Place carrot purée in a large bowl. Slowly add in the milk, a little at a time, whisking after each addition so that the mixture stays smooth, not lumpy. Mix in the saltine cracker crumbs, the grated cheese, onion, butter, Kosher salt, cayenne, and black pepper.

4 In a separate bowl, whip up the eggs until frothy. Then whisk them into the carrot purée mixture.

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5 Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until puffed up a bit and lightly golden.

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