Ham, Leek and Gouda Souffle

Don't fear the soufflé--it's easy to make...and very impressive!  And as the great old Volkswagon ad said:  "...and a soufflé, is just...eggs!"

Servings: 8

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, plus melted butter for brushing and addiitonal butter for sautéing the leeks
1/2 Cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
1 Teaspoon Biber (red Pepper Flakes)
3/4 Cup Flour, gluten-free
3 Cups non-fat Half and Half
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Teaspoons fresh Thyme Leaves
12 large Eggs, separated
12 Ounces Black Forest Ham, diced
4 Ounces Pancetta, diced and browned in a skillet
4 Leeks, white part only, sliced and sautéed in butter
16 Ounces Gouda Cheese, shredded
1 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

  • Preheat the oven to 400° and brush eight 2-cup ramekins with butter.  Lightly coat the ramekins with 1/2 of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and set them on a sturdy baking sheet.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the biber. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the half and half and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and thyme. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the Gouda, ham, pancetta and leeks.
  • The souffle can be made up to this point several hours in advance.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the soufflé base to lighten it.  With a rubber spatula, fold the remaining egg whites into the soufflé base until no streaks of white remain.
  • Spoon the soufflé mixture into the ramekins, filling them to 1/2-inch below the rim. Run your thumb inside the rim of each ramekin to clean it in order to help the soufflés rise evenly. Sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano on top and bake in the bottom third of the oven until the soufflés are puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Per Serving: 646 Calories; 39g Fat (55.9% calories from fat); 43g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 468mg Cholesterol; 1878mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 5 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Have everyone at the table when the soufflés come out of the oven--it's better to have the guests wait for the soufflés, because the soufflés won't wait for the guests.

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