• 5 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 kg spinach leaves
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup kashkaval cheese (or smoked cheese)

Bulgarians enjoy salty breads and pastry as main dishes, and most of the time they are vegetarian, made out of an egg and cheese base. Thus, in the last generations more time-consuming traditional recipes, such as homemade banitsa, have been replaced by modern housewives with easier versions. Such is for instance the lazy banitsa, but also the very popular soufflé that is more and more often present on the Bulgarian table.

Here is a delicious spinach soufflé recipe with simple spices. The predominant taste is that of the Bulgarian kashkaval cheese or again of the beloved by Bulgarians taste of smoke-cured cheeses, such as gouda or gruyère that can replace kashkaval.

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook to make a white roux.
  2. Gradually pour in the milk at room temperature, beating constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil until the sauce thickens into obtaining a béchamel sauce. Take the saucepan off the heat and let the sauce cool down completely before continuing.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the fresh spinach leaves and chop them roughly. Then cook them briefly, either blanching or steaming the leaves, until tender. Alternatively, you can choose to use frozen spinach, which you would simply thaw before adding to the soufflé.
  4. Separate the egg yolks from the whites in two bowls.
  5. Whisk the yolks and add them to the béchamel sauce, that should be cold by then. Add some ground nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste, and mix well until smooth.
  6. Add the cooked spinach to the sauce and stir. Depending on the consistency you prefer, you can choose to use the spinach leaves chunky or to finely chop them or even mash them before adding them.
  7. Grate the kashkaval or the smoked cheese you chose and stir it into the sauce mixture.
  8. Finally, beat the egg whites into firm peaks and carefully spoon them into the sauce without beating. The soufflé mix should be light and fluffy.
  9. Butter the bottom and the sides of a deep porcelain baking dish. Pour in the soufflé mix carefully.
  10. Preheat the oven at 200°C (400°F) and bake for about 20 minutes. The soufflé should be puffed and fluffy.

Serve this spinach souffé warm and puffed, with a side of snejanka salad or an easy replacement made out of natural yogurt, chopped fresh dill and a crushed garlic clove.