Spinach and Andouille Soufflé

PREP TIME:1 ½ hours
SERVES: 6 - 8

The word soufflé will often scare the cook! However, this is one soufflé recipe that can be accomplished by even the most inexperienced chef. Since spinach is available all year long, fresh or frozen, there is no excuse not to attempt this recipe. Make it a part of your special occasion table.

3 pkgs frozen leaf spinach
1 cup minced Chef John Folse's smoked andouille
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup minced onions
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and cracked pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
1 ½ cups milk
8 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a six cup soufflé mold and line the bottom with wax or parchment paper. Set aside. Thaw spinach in refrigerator overnight, drain and squeeze out all excess liquid. This is best done in a colander to make sure all liquid is removed. Place the spinach on a cutting board and using a sharp French knife, chop until almost pureed. You may wish to do this in a food processor. Do not over-chop. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté three to five minutes or until wilted. Add andouille sausage and continue to cook an additional two to three minutes.

Add spinach, blending into the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook five to ten minutes until done, stirring occasionally. Season to taste using salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat, blend in milk and add eggs slowly, stirring constantly. Once all is well blended, add bread crumbs and cheese. Continue to stir until all is well incorporated. Pour soufflé mixture into buttered mold and place in baking pan with three inch lip. Pour one inch of water into pan to form a water bath around the soufflé mold. Bake forty-five minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted into the soufflé comes out clean. You may make the soufflé and freeze it uncooked. Then cook in the same fashion but allow one and a half hours in the oven.

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