chicken souffle (hooray!)

This is such a tasty and surprisingly easy dish that is great for entertaining or a delightful dinner (with leftovers) for two!  I adapted the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis’ Chicken and Cheddar Souffle using whatever cheese I had on hand and substituting asparagus for spinach (which was nothing short of delicious!).  Served alongside a simple salad, this was great for dinner, but could be a fantastic addition to a weekend brunch.  Leftovers are just as scrumptious!

I don’t have a souffle dish (shocking, i know!) and just used a rounded pot that seemed to do the trick.

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 milk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1  1/2 cups shredded mild Cheddar (or whatever cheese you like…swiss, monterrey jack, etc.)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 bunch chopped asparagus (orig. recipe calls for 2 cups packed spinach)
2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped to 1/2 inch pieces (I used leftovers, but rotisserie chicken would be just as easy)
6 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 (1/2-inch thick) slices bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 egg whites, at room temperature

Special equipment: a 2-quart (8-cups) souffle dish (or a similarly sized dish worked fine for me)

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

2. 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 (tah-dah: you just made a béchamel!).  Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses, asparagus (or spinach), chicken, egg yolks, and bread cubes.  Stir until combined (mixture will be thick).

3. 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 (no peaking!).  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Salud mis amigas!

chicken souffle (hooray!)

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