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Cheesy Grit Souffles

030 A Cheesy Grit Souffles.jpg
030 A Cheesy Grit Souffles.jpg

Cheesy Grit Souffles

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To this day I still remember seeing a picture of corn soufflés in a cookbook and being amazed at its’ beauty. I don’t remember what book it was, but I do know this recipe is a huge success every time I make it!  The most important “ingredient” to a perfectly risen soufflé, is not opening the oven as it cooks. I know, it’s tempting but try your best!

 

Yield: 8, 8-ounce ramekins

Oven: 350ºF

Preparation time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes refrigeration

Cook Time: 35 – 40 minutes

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Ramekins:

2 tablespoons butter, melted, for lining ramekins

1/4 cup granulated sugar, for dusting ramekins

Grits:

1 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons kosher salt, added in two additions

1 cup uncooked yellow grits

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk

1 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels (from approximately 2 ears of corn)

2 large eggs

1 cup (4-ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon roughly chopped thyme

Meringue:

3 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Method:

1.   Preheat oven to 350ºF.

To prepare the ramekins:

2.   Using a pastry brush dipped in melted butter, brush the insides of each ramekin making sure your strokes are straight up the sides. This will help guide the soufflé up and over the sides. 

3.   Starting with 3 tablespoons of sugar, evenly coat the inside of one ramekin tilting and rotating to ensure that both the bottom and sides are coated.  Pour the excess sugar into the second ramekin, adding more sugar if needed. Repeat this process until all ramekins have been coated.  Place in the refrigerator to harden, at least 30 minutes.

4.   Meanwhile, prepare the grits.

To prepare the grits:

5.   In a medium saucepan over medium – high heat, add water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring water to a boil, then gradually add the grits while whisking. Continue to cook while stirring until water has evaporated, approximately 1 1/2 minutes.

6.   Add milk and whisk constantly for an additional 7 – 9 minutes, or until grits are creamy.

7.   Remove grits from heat and using a wooden spoon or spatula, add corn kernels eggs, sharp cheddar cheese, butter, thyme, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

8.   Set to the side off heat.

To prepare the meringue:

9.   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on high speed until foamy, approximately 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix on high until firm peaks form, approximately 4 – 5 minutes.

10.   Add a small portion to the grit mixture and stir to combine.

11.   Carefully and gradually fold the remaining egg whites into the grit mixture being careful to not over-mix or flatten the meringue.

12.   Divide among the prepared and chilled ramekins and place in preheated 350ºF oven. Bake until soufflés have risen over the side of the ramekins, tops are lightly toasted and edges look cooked (not too wet), approximately 35 – 40 minutes.

13.   Remove from oven and serve immediately. Note: The soufflés will start shrinking the second they come out of the oven so it’s best to time them according.

 

Kitchen Note: If you are looking for a little “heat”, feel free to add a kick of spice with a jalapeno pepper (seeded and diced), and a teaspoon of hot sauce…of course more or less to your liking.  Also, feel free to swap the herbs and cheese to those of your liking and use whole milk for a “richer” flavor profile.