My mother always said “don’t try out new recipes on guests.” Because what if the recipe doesn’t work or we don’t like it and so on and so on and then there might be nothing to eat.
Well, first, there is never nothing to eat at my house. Because my mother’s other advice (shown by example) was to have a freezer full of food “just in case.”
Second, because I like to try new recipes and who else could I try them on if not for the people who dine at my table?
Usually what I do when I have a dinner party is to make one new dish. All my friends know there will be some experiment or other for them to taste and comment about.
But next Sunday I am having lots of people over to celebrate the birth of our granddaughter Carina (I am a little slow, she is now 7 months old) and several of the dishes I will be serving are experiments.
Only I took my mother’s advice. I tried them out first so I know they work.
One of the hors d’oeuvre I worked on was gougeres, the wonderful, crispy baked French cheese puffs. I’ve made them a zillion times, so no problem there.
But I needed to make them dairy-free.
How do you make gougeres without butter and cheese?
I substituted Earth Balance buttery sticks for the butter. And instead of mixing in grated cheese I added finely chopped chorizo sausage (I used Jack’s Gourmet), which gave the puffs the characteristic tangy taste needed for a good gougere.
Voila! Followed my mom’s advice and have plenty in the freezer just in case.
Here’s the recipe:
Herb and Chorizo Gougeres
1 cup water
1/4 pound (1/2 cup) Earth Balance Buttery Spread, cut into chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mixed herbs
1/2 cup finely chopped chorizo (one Jack’s Gourmet chorizo)
pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the water and Earth Balance in a saucepan over medium heat. When the Earth Balance has melted, add the flour and salt all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended and begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the herbs, chorizo and cayenne pepper and blend them in thoroughly. Lightly grease and flour a baking sheet. Drop 1-inch mounds of dough from a teaspoon onto the sheet. Leave space between the mounds for the puffs to rise. Bake for 20 minutes or until the puffs are lightly brown and crispy. Lower the heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the puffs in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes about 60