Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

I have a theory that I’m slightly psychic.  Today, for your reading pleasure, I will make two (2!) potentially accurate predictions:

1.  This will be the least popular post that we’ve put up in about 6 months.

2.  The one person who actually tries this recipe will be absolutely delighted, but it won’t matter because nobody will read either this article or the comments.

You see, I’m both a fraudulent psychic and a pragmatist.  There is a small percentage of the population who gets as misty eyed and oxytocin fueled as I do when I think about blue cheeses, but that percentage is about, oh, 0.002%.  The other 99.998% find blue cheese about as appealing as licking the inside of a hockey glove.  Furthermore, of that 0.002% only 1/3 of them will eat onions that haven’t been shredded down to an unrecognizable pulp and dissolved in Bolognese sauce.  You see?  Prediction 1 was forged in the fires of depressive realism.

That said, this was also probably my favorite dinner this week….maybe 2.  I ate my pillowy blue cheese and chive soufflé in it’s edible sweet onion cup with a delightful side salad in a light vinaigrette. Not to filling, and it just hit the spot.  And then I a second portion (read:  entree) when I was cleaning up the kitchen.  And I took the last one for lunch today.  If I had any more blue cheese left, I probably would have made it again tonight.  But alors, I understand that this post is destined to circle for eternity in the purgatorial Brigadoon of unpopular food blog posts.  I’ve made peace with that fact, but I can’t help myself from posting anyway.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Serves 6

  • 4 – 6 large sweet onions (such as Vidalia) *
  • 5 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups milk
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp dried mustard powder
  • small handful fresh chives (2 tbsp finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese **
  • salt and pepper

* The souffle is enough to comfortably fill 6 large vidalia onions.  However, if you have some guests coming over that have less of an allium affinity, give them an out by making two portions in 8 oz ramekins or a single 16 oz ramekin (which will cook at the same speed as the onions).

** Surprise!  I LOVE CHEESE!!!  I love lots of ooey gooey melty delicious cheese, but I equally love smaller amounts of piquant cheese with flavors that blossom in your mouth like a serenade of fermentation.  What I’m trying to say is that when you’re singing the blues, it can be easy to hit the wrong key.  The flavor of blue cheese is quite strong and really makes or breaks this dish, so choose a blue that you really enjoy.  I opted for a classic Roquefort, but if you wanted a milder flavor Gorgonzola would be great, or even the succulent and creamy Bresse de Bleu.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Thinly slice 1/4″ off the root end of your onions, and about 3/4″ off the top.  Peel back the tough outer layers of your onions until you’re at the thick and supple edible layers.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Boil the onions in salted water for 4-6 minutes, or until the outermost layer is slightly tender but still firm. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and cool them in an ice bath.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

When the onions are cool enough to handle, gently loosen the outer two layers and press firmly up on the root end to pop the inside of the onion out. Be gentle so that you don’t rip the onion rounds that you need. Slice a thin (1/8″) round of onion off of the base and tuck this inside your onion cup where there is an exposed hole from the root end. Reserve the insides of the onions for another use.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Now then, onto the souffle. Carefully separate your eggs putting the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. As soon as it has melted add the flour and whisk it until it forms a sandy paste. Let this cook, whisking occasionally, for only a minute or two.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Slowly add the milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly as you do so to avoid any lumps and clumps. When the sauce is incorporated and smooth (about 30 seconds of whisking) add the dried mustard, oregano, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Take the sauce off the heat.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Whisk your egg yolks until they’re combined and just slightly lighter in color. Add a spoonful of your bechamel (the cream sauce) to the egg yolks and WHISK, WHISK, WHISK!!! Be vigorous and terse. Take charge of this situation. Don’t let those eggs harden up and make a fool of you.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Repeat this with another 1-2 spoonfuls to temper the egg mixture before whisking in the rest of the sauce.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Beat the egg whites until they form moderately stiff peaks. There are a lot of tips out there about how to get the stiffest of egg whites, such as the temperature of the egg, the copper bowl, blah blah blah. The most important thing in my humble opinion is to make sure that there is absolutely not a speck of protein in the eggs. That means no yolk, and no goobers that didn’t get cleaned off of the inside of the bowl. I always wipe out my bowl (and the beaters) with a cloth doused lightly in vinegar before I commence the beats.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Dollop about 1/3 of the egg white onto the yolk mixture……

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

…and stir it with a spatula until it is uniformly combined.

At that point you can add the rest of the whites to the yolk, but DON’T STIR!! Just lightly, carefully, fold the mixture over with your spatula. Caress the eggs. They like some TLC. After all, if you stir them you risk losing all of the volume that you just tried so hard to make with the whites. Fluffy egg whites are one main key to a high rising souffle. You don’t need to completely incorporate the whites right now, it’s okay to be a bit streaky.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Crumble in the blue cheese and the finely chopped chives. Fold the mixture over several times until the chives and cheese are interspersed.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Nestle your onion cups into an oven safe dish that is just large enough to fit them all. They should be rather snug so that the onions were to start singing, “Lean on Me” it would just make sense. We all need a bit of support now and again.

Spoon the souffle mixture into your onion cups until it’s just about 1/2″ – 3/4″ down from the rims.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

If you’re also using baking some of the souffle without onion cups, butter it well and lightly sprinkle the inside with dry breadcrumbs. Pour the souffle mixture in until it’s 3/4″ down from the rim.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Bake the souffles in the center of your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until they’re browned on top and there’s just the teensiest bit of jiggle left in the centers.

Serve the souffles immediately.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Yes, IMMEDIATELY. We’re talking STAT on the ASAP, people. They take about 1/2 hour to cook and about 2 minutes to collapse, so this isn’t the time to assemble people at the table because the souffle has just come out of the oven. Oh no. You make them SIT at the table and wait until that timer goes off. They’ll thank you for it in the end.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Rich with the flavor of pungent blue cheese and the fresh zing of snipped chives, balanced against the buttery sweetness of the onions, this is the kind of souffle that makes you stand up and salute. And then rapidly sit back down because you want another bite….a big one.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

And just so that those onion hating peeps out there aren’t feeling abandoned, let me remind you of the alternative:

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups

Another day, another dinner.

Blue Cheese and Chive Soufflé in Onion Cups
  • http://www.amomentofweakness.blogspot.com Tara

    So, are you supposed to eat the onion “dish”? I can never tell with these kinds of things…..

  • http://thespitefulchef.blogspot.com kristie

    I’m into the idea of the onion cup. Maybe with a cheddar souffle instead, for me. Because blue cheese isn’t so much like licking the inside of a hockey glove as it is licking the inside of a hockey athletic-supporter. But the onion cup–c’est genius.

  • Louise

    O.M.G. There is NOTHING about this meal that doesn’t make me wish that I lived in your kitchen. Seriously. Blue cheese, chives, and edible onion cups? Why yes, that is drool on my chin.

  • Bdanger

    Unpopular? Are you kidding me? I am going to the grocery store RIGHT NOW and making these babies after work. My mouth is watering as I type this. Blue cheese and vidalia onions? Youmay be my soul sister.

  • http://foodhappens.blogspot.com lo

    OK, I’m completely misty-eyed… and I’m finding myself thinking: Geesh, when can I make this great looking dish? No dinner parties coming up… aw, shucks.

    I’m all about the edible onion cup. And I’d snarf it down in record time.

    And the blue cheese… well, I have a love affair going on there. And I attribute the habits of non-blue-lovers to the fact that they just haven’t met the RIGHT blue. I’d recommend a buttermilk blue for beginners. Or Cambozola! Totally innocuous :)

  • Madge

    This is the first recipe that has made me want to try and make a souffle, because I am a lazy, lazy cook. But I am a lazy, lazy cook who loves stinky cheeses and onions. I want this RIGHT NOW.

  • MtC

    It’s not that I’m an “onion hater”, per se… it’s that onions hate me (but, you’ve already heard that story) — bravo on the alternative!

  • Adrienne

    Yeah, count me in for getting on this blue-cheesy bandwagon. I know what we’re having for Sunday dinner.

    Nit picky note: it’s the fats from the yolks that makes egg whites fall, not the protein. Egg white is almost entirely protein. I’m annoying. I know. I’m sorry. I teach science. I can’t help it.

  • http://www.eatingindallas.wordpress.com Margie

    I’m afraid of souffle failure. But, if you’ll make it, I’ll eat the hell out of it!

  • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

    Okay, you guys are proving me wrong here. I’m so glad to see that I’m not alone in my cravings!!!

    Tara – yes, you can eat the onion dish!! Vidalia onions are naturally sweet, but cooking them mellows the flavor even more. It’s also a great compliment to the blue cheese.

    Kristie – ha! I know how you feel about blue cheese, so that was a very generous statement. Thank you :)

    Louise – aww, shucks. There’s always room for one more at our dining table, you know! Thank you for stopping by our site!

    BDanger – I DID always want a sister, and I like that soul sisters don’t involve a blood pact and a hand shake. If you do ever make these, please let us know what you think!!

    Lo! – Ooh jeez, Cambozola. I always say that it I were to die and come back as a cheese it would be Cambozola…..every few months I have a sinfully drunken and gluttonous wine and cheese date with one of my girl friends, and Cambozola is a must-have on that cheese tray.

    Madge – thank you so much for stopping by our site! If you haven’t guessed it by now, I am also a lazy, lazy cook. I don’t like anything that has too many steps or a high failure rate. The thing is, souffles really get a bad rap that they don’t deserve! As long as you can whip egg whites and show some patience when mixing hot liquids with egg yolk, souffles are easy-peasy. Really!! If I can do it, well, anyone can do it. Oh, but don’t tell your guests that they’re easy, and make sure that they see the glorious fluffed out beasties as soon as they come out of the oven, even if you have to position everyone in the kitchen to do so. It’s a thing of beauty.

    MtC – You know that if I were making this for you I would have yet another separate ramekin that was chive-free as well. It’s bad enough that I tried to poison CV with the siu mai….I still feel guilty about that.

    Adrienne – thank you for that information!! It seems that I’ve been laboring under a misapprehension here. Nitpick away, I love to learn new things. You know, my father was a science teacher too and right now he’s probably nodding his head and saying, “FINALLY, somebody talking SENSE!!”

    Margie – Don’t be afraid of souffle failure!! But I DO love me an enthusiastic eater, so if you ever end up swinging by Toronto……

  • Bdanger

    Okay Tina, I made these last night and they were a HUGE success! I was so worried they would fall flat (like every other souffle I’ve ever made) but they were airy, perfect, and best of all, cheesy. My bf and I gobbled them up and I looked like a star. Also…now I know how to make onion cups. What a great meal…I will be serving this for years and years. As always Tina you are amazing!

  • Lizzie

    My ONLY tweak was adding a teensy pinch of nutmeg based on my old rule that
    “where there is bechamel, so shall there be nutmeg.” Divine!!

  • http://food.lizsteinberg.com Liz

    Who doesn’t like smelly cheeses or onions?! I think this combination sounds great. And I second the nutmeg suggestion.

  • Scotland Squire

    I’ve just sent my husband to the store. I cannot wait to try this. Like other people posting here, I love blue cheese and onion and well, actually, all the ingredients. You are the best for posting this Tina. Thank you!

  • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

    BDanger – how TICKLED am I? You totally made me day. I’m absolutely delighted that you had an enjoyable success! Wheeeeeee!

    Lizzie – did you make them as well? That’s wonderful!!!! Nutmeg is a really good suggestion – you’re right, I almost always put nutmeg in my bechamel as well, and I don’t know why I didn’t for these. Nutmeg is also a good compliment spice to blue cheese so that must have been delicious. Thank you for the great idea!

    Liz – thank you for stopping by the site! I agree, stinky cheese is where it’s at.

    Scotland Squire – How excellent that you’re giving this a trial! You know, if hubby has been sent to the store I should mention that this dish goes really nicely with a glass of crisp white wine or a dry and peppery red, so might as well get started on that part of it now ;) Please let us know what you thought of it!! Rampant curiosity really will kill this cat one day….

  • Reg

    I loved this post, especially all the how-to photos, and I LOVE blue cheese in any form! I may make this recipe one day but I am oven-less at the moment, but have no fear, I have scrapbooked this post!

  • Em

    i can’t seem to find the temperature for the oven…

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

      Em,
      Thanks for checking out our site!! Many people swear by cooking souffle at a really high oven temperature (400-425) but I find that I usually get scorched tops and runny insides at that temperature. A preheated 350 F oven is hot enough to get the rise you’re looking for, but not so hot that the tops get too browned before the inside cooks.

  • http://nandugreen.com Marlene Affeld

    Thanks for the great recipe for onion souffle – it looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it for my next dinner party. The photos and clear instructions were a real help.

  • Gabriella

    When I saw the picture of this on my google feed, I knew that I just had to make this! Onion! Cheese! I’m in heaven! I can not wait to get home know and subject my boyfriend to this deliciousness!

  • Brad

    This looks great!! I’m really excited to try it.

    One question, though. In the paragraph below the photos of separated eggs should the second “butter” be “flour”? I was confused for a bit, then looked at the ingredient list and came up with that conclusion.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  • http://www.diaryofamadhausfrau.com/ Lora

    Blue Cheese? Onion? I’m in. Mos def.

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  • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

    Marlene Gabriella & Lora – thank you for the comments! If you do try this recipe, please let us know what you thought or what you would do differently!

    Brad – Thank you, Eagle Eye!! You are absolutely correct and I will correct that right away. Much appreciated!!

  • http://onecaketwocake.com/ Laura

    wow, you’re a genius and this looks amazing. I have to confess that I’m one of the blue cheese haters, but I’ll just have to try it with a different cheese, maybe gruyere?

  • Laura

    Tina,

    OK, I have to say it. The Onion souffle’ is awfully cute but… that is an awful lot of work for nothing. Any time you bake, steam or pressure cook a stuffed onion cup it will shrink and squeeze out the filling. Get the same look with much less work using the stuffing I used for my naughty onions:

    http://www.hippressurecooking.com/2010/09/naughty-onions-stuffed-with-potatoes.html

    They rise out of the onion even more and there is no beating egg whites! You can add gorgonzola if you like.. and no collapsing!!!

    L

    http://www.hippressurecooking.com/
    making pressure cookers hip again, one recipe at a time

  • Renata

    I made these and they turned out fantastic! Have just posted on my blog. Thanks for sharing such a great idea!