If soufflés had a spirit animal, it would be an indoor house cat. They’re warm and fluffy and perfect when they’re perfect, but when they decide on a whim to not be perfect, they’re clumsy, capricious ninjas, destroying your furniture. That’s not to say that a soufflé will destroy your couch, but it can definitely ruin a dinner party by falling into a heap.
Not with this soufflé. This, my friends, is a béchamel soufflé, which means that it will rise to crusty, savory, wonderful proportions, and the best part – you can make it ahead. I KNOW. A make ahead soufflé? Whaaaatttt? It’s true. You can whip this up, pop it in the dish, and let it hang out in the fridge for a day and then bake it off. It’s wonderful.
This is a crazy simple version, but feel free to play around with it. Imagine a bacon, cheddar, jalapeño version!
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus more to butter a 6-cup gratin dish
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups cold whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 extra-large eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups grated Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyere (about 6 ounces)
3 tablespoons minced fresh chive blades
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium sized pot over medium heat, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour, stirring and cooking for about a minute, until it smells nutty. Add about 2 tablespoons of milk at a time, whisking to combine. At first it’ll be super thick, but just keep adding liquid and stirring. You should end up with a thick, velvety sauce. If a little thin, cook and stir it for a few minutes until it reduces, or if too thick, add a little more milk. Take the sauce off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.
Add the eggs, the cheese and the chives to the white sauce, and mix well to combine. Pour into the buttered dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the soufflé is puffy and well browned on top. Serve immediately.