03 April 2013

Deceptively Easy Gourmet - A Ham, Corn and Cheese Soufflé

Flower colors mimic food colors ... what a coincidence! Happy Spring!

It's always fun to roll out a gourmet recipe when guests come to share a meal, but it can be stressful if said recipe is a 'time drain' that takes you away from your guests or has to be worked up at the last minute. I have always been intimidated by the idea of  'The Soufflé' - the idea of a huge puffy mass of eggs dependent on proper folding, the perfect oven environment, and perfect timing when planning the actual serving. All these issues kept me from trying to make a soufflé.

As I've gotten older and more confident in the kitchen, the soufflé has become an item on my culinary bucket list, so when this month's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club theme of  'Deceptively Easy Gourmet' popped up in my email, I decided that this was the perfect time to whip up this classic - especially when I visited a recipe site and saw this particular take on things!  The timing couldn't be better! A few days after Easter and I knew that the Easter ham leftovers would still be in the fridge! Perfect!

 Ham, Corn and Cheese Soufflé
a Cooking Light recipe

Serves: 4


Baking pan spray
2 tsp. dry bread crumbs
1 ½ c. fresh or frozen corn kernels (2 fresh ears)
⅓ c. sliced green onions, greens and white sections
⅔ c. diced cooked ham ( 3 oz.)
¼ c. flour
¾ c. 2 % or skim milk
½ c. grated Cheddar (or your cheese of choice) – 2 oz.
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites ½ tsp. cream of tartar

Making the Soufflé:

  1. Spray a 1 ½ quart soufflé dish with the baking spray. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the bottom and around the sides of the pan and set it aside.
  2. Spritz a non-stick fry pan with more cooking spray and sauté the onions and corn for about five minutes. Toss in the ham and stir everything up. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325° F and place the rack at the center position.
  4. Place the flour in a small saucepan and whisk in the milk. Place the pan over medium heat and stir until the milk thickens, cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and stir until melted. Turn of the heat and let the pan cool a bit.
  5. While the cheese mix cols just a bit, separate the eggs and place the yolks in a deep mixing bowl. Whip at high with a mixer until the egg yolks are light yellow and thickened – 5 minutes.
  6. Mix the milk/cheese mixture into the egg yolks in small amounts, stirring constantly to make a smooth sauce.
  7. Turn the corn/ham/mixture into the eggs and milk mixture, stirring to blend everything well. Set aside.
  8. In a deep clean metal bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  9. Turn ¼ of the egg whites into the yolk mixture, stirring very gently to combine.
  10. Very gently fold the rest of the egg whites into the yolk mixture until thoroughly combined.
  11. Turn the soufflé batter into the prepared pan and place in the center of the pre-heated oven.
  12. Bake for 1 hour or until puffed and golden – the soufflé will be high and firm, but with a ‘jiggle’ at the center of the dish.
  13. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

I actually sang, "Ta-Dah!" when I opened the oven door and saw this beauty!

This is a recipe that has three distinct steps, but each can be done in isolation without things getting overwhelming. Then, the soufflé is assembled and baked for one solid hour - plenty of time to prepare whatever else you plan to serve with it. In our case, I decided to celebrate Spring and have roasted asparagus and a Spring salad with some maple honey mustard salad dressing. The side dishes were complete and ready to serve as the soufflé was coming out of the oven.  Perfect!

The final question I had was how one serves a soufflé. We opted for a big serving spoon and huge scoops on the plate with the asparagus on the side. It was delicious, but I must say that it felt unconventional with the sweet corn and ham ... SB says it's just a French-ified omelette with attitude. I laughed and told him he needed to propose a toast this French-ified lunch ... one more taste of gourmet crossed off the culinary bucket list! Now that I've made one, I feel like I could go to Julia Child's tome and see how she tells one to whip up a soufflé!

This month's Virtual Supper Club theme was chosen by Sarah over at All Our Fingers In the Pie. Thanks, Sarah! Your idea has helped me get over my fear of  'gourmet' and jump in with both feet! So now, let's take a look at the entire menu and our other club members' posts!

First Course - Susan's Ham, Corn, and Cheese Soufflé
After Dinner Dessert Beverage- Val's Caramelized Expresso Frappe


  1. I have also been intimidated by a soufflé for many, many years. With the right recipe it comes together pretty easily and the results are amazing. Thank you so much for bringing this to the table Susan!!

  2. A souffle is a great idea. I love them but rarely make them for myself. I have to keep this on my wish list.

  3. MMM - your souffle looks brilliant (yes, sign me up as one who is afraid to make 'em). Great selection for this month's theme!

  4. Soufflé are so scary. You're do brave and make it look not only easy but so blinking tasty!! Nice work x

  5. I have two souffle dishes that I received as a shower present when I got married years ago. I have never used them. I have always wanted to try a blue cheese version. Yours looks delicious.

  6. I have never made a soufflé before. It looks so fancy and delicious.

  7. Susan, your souffle is gorgeous! I, too, have never tried a souffle from feelings of intimidation! I'm going to take this delicious plunge! This was a fun theme and I love our group!

  8. Wow! Nicely done! That is beautiful! And great pictures!


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