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Cheddar Risotto Souffles

Cheddar Risotto Souffles
These mini soufflés make a great addition to the brunch table. They go equally well with sausages or a fruit compote.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  2. 1 bay leaf
  3. 1 tablespoon butter
  4. ⅓ cup chopped onion
  5. ½ cup arborio or carnaroli rice
  6. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  7. ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  8. ¼ cup white wine
  9. ¼ teaspoon salt
  10. ¾ cup finely grated sharp cheddar (such as Grafton Village aged cheddar), plus more for garnish
  11. Freshly ground black pepper
  12. 3 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepot, heat broth to boiling. Add bay leaf, cover, and reduce the heat, holding at a simmer.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice, garlic, and thyme, and cook 1 minute. Add wine, salt, and ½ cup broth; simmer until the liquid is completely absorbed.
  3. Begin adding the remaining hot broth in ½-cup increments, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed before adding the next one. (This should take 15 to 18 minutes total.) Discard the bay leaf. Test the risotto between additions until it’s done cooking (see note).
  4. Add cheddar and black pepper, stirring until well combined. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375°F, and butter four 4-ounce individual custard cups or soufflé dishes. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the top rack of the oven, and fill with enough hot water to just cover the entire surface, creating a shallow water bath.
  5. Stir egg yolks into the warm risotto mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold the whites into the risotto just until blended. Divide the mixture among the soufflé dishes, filling each to the top. Carefully set the soufflés in the water bath, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Sprinkle each soufflé with grated cheddar and serve promptly.
Notes
  1. Note: How to know if your risotto is finished cooking? When you are almost done adding hot broth to the risotto mixture, taste-test a few grains of risotto. You’ll know you’re done when the risotto is both silky and chewy, with an al dente firmness at the center of each grain.
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