Smoky Greens Soufflé 

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Thanksgiving greens like you've never had them before.

Smoky Greens Souffle
Photo: James Ransom, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
6

There's no wrong way to enjoy Southern collard greens, but this soufflé may be one of our favorites! If you've never tried your hand at making a soufflé before, this easy recipe is a great place to start. Soufflés are a magical side dish—they're the perfect combination of light, airy, cheesy and comforting.

Soufflés owe their lofty height to beaten egg whites. In this recipe, a quick white sauce is made using bacon drippings, which give this soufflé a nice smoky flavor. Creamy fontina cheese and eggs follow, adding richness and thickening power.

Thawed frozen collard greens step in as a fantastic shortcut—no washing or stemming required. However, it is very important to squeeze any excess moisture from the greens; the extra water will make your soufflé soupy.

After the greens and flavorings are added, it's time for the crucial egg whites. These are beaten with some cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Instead of adding all of the beaten egg whites at once, stir in about a third of them to loosen up the collard mixture, then very gently fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula. The key word here is gently—you want to preserve as much of the air that you beat into those egg whites as possible, as they're responsible for the soufflé's remarkable rise.

For extra rising insurance, use the tip of a paring knife to trace a ½-inch deep circle in the top of the batter, inset about 1 inch from the sides of the dish. Then, just bake the soufflé until the top is richly browned. This dish is best served piping hot from the oven with your favorite hot sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped collard greens, thawed

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing soufflé dish

  • 3 Tbsp. grated pecorino Romano cheese 

  • 4 thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon slices, chopped (1 cup packed)

  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole milk 

  • ¾ cup fontina cheese, shredded 

  • 4 large egg yolks 

  • 1 ¼ tsp. Creole seasoning 

  • 1 tsp. hot sauce, plus more for serving 

  • ½ tsp. grated garlic (from 1 clove) 

  • 7 large egg whites 

  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place collards in a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze firmly over sink to remove as much liquid as possible; transfer to a cutting board. Finely chop greens, and transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Grease a 2-quart soufflé dish evenly with butter. Sprinkle dish with pecorino Romano cheese, and tilt to coat in an even layer; tap out excess. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Cook chopped bacon in a large saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until it's crisp and the fat has rendered, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, add cooked bacon to greens in large bowl, reserving drippings in pan. Pour drippings into a small heatproof bowl. Wipe saucepan clean.

  4. Add 2 tablespoons reserved drippings to saucepan, and place over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking often, until milk mixture is very thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in fontina cheese until melted and smooth, about 30 seconds. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Stir into collard greens mixture in large bowl along with Creole seasoning, hot sauce, and garlic.

  5. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir about one-third of egg white mixture into collard greens mixture until well incorporated. Gently fold in remaining egg white mixture until just incorporated. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. To encourage proper rising, use the tip of a paring knife to trace a circle (about 1/2 inch deep) 1 inch from sides of dish. Bake soufflé in preheated oven until puffed, top is browned, and a long skewer inserted into middle of soufflé comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately with hot sauce.

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