Blue Corn Chili Souffle (With a Side of Tournedos and Sauce Bearnaise)

I think Jenn and I have been out on a date for valentine’s day once.  It was an unmitigated disaster.  Cold food, crappy service, and a menu with about three choices. Oh, and it was over-priced, to boot.  Suffice it to say, we don’t go out for valentine’s day. 
Besides, when every day is valentine’s day, what’s so special about the 14th of  February?

After failing at making blue corn cornbread because of the fine consistency of the corn meal, I thought that maybe it would work as a flour substitute in something else. It still has the gritty quality of corn, so it’s not really good for bread or pasta.  But it works quite well for a savory souffle.

Blue Corn Chili Souffle (With a Side of Tournedos and Sauce Bearnaise)

What You Need

Souffle

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature

1/4 cup blue corn meal
2/3cup whole milk
5 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
1 small can Hatch green chilis (diced)

Tournedos with Sauce Bearnaise

2 10-oz filets, preferably prime (about 2 1/2 inch thick) (OK, technically not a tournedos, but we went a little over-board)
2 tablespoons grape seed oil (or other high smoke point oil)
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold water
150 grams butter
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 sprigs tarragon
1 cup prosecco
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
white pepper

What To Do with It

Get a sous chef.  Things get going kind of fast.

About an hour before cooking, put your meat on the counter to warm  up.

Drain the green chilis well.

Mince the shallots. Strip the leaves off one tarragon sprig and mince them.  Set the minced leaves aside and keep the stem.

Put the prosecco, vinegar, black pepper, one sprig of tarragon and the stem in a small sauce pot. Reduce on medium until there’s about 1/3 cup left. Strain through a fine chinoise (or you can use a coffee filter).

Clarify the butter (cook on low heat until melted, then skim the solids off the top (you don’t have to get them all).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub inside of four one-cup ramekins with butter. Coat with a light dusting of cornmeal; tap out excess. Beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff.

Souffle

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons corn meal and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium. Simmer mixture until very thick, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Add the goat cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. Mix in salt and pepper. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot the corn meal mixture. Cool 5 minutes.

Mix 1/2 of whites into the souffle base to lighten. Add the drained chilis and fold in the remaining whites. Pour into ramekins. Place in 13x9x2-inch glass or metal baking pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of ramekins.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Tournedos

Put a pan on medium-high heat. If you have a second oven, turn it to about 175. Put salt and pepper on each side of the steaks (a healthy pinch on each side).

In a saucier, whisk the egg yolks and water until frothy. Place over medium heat and whisk like the dickens.
The sabayon will suddenly thicken and just about triple in volume, and you’ll be able to see the bottom of the saucier.  Keep whisking 5-10 seconds, then remove from heat and continue whisking for about another 30 seconds.

With about 15 minutes to go before the souffle is done, put the oil in the pan. Once it gets heated and you pan is coated, throw in your steak. Cook for 5 minutes per side (you’re going to end up with a rare steak). Put the entire pan in your second oven (if you don’t have a second oven, cook an additional minute, then remove from heat.

Stir the butter into your sabayon (maybe over the course of about 45 seconds).  Add the prosecco reduction, then add the minced tarragon and salt, white pepper and lemon to taste).

We served with a Del Dotto Cabernet Franc (2007).  Enjoy!