Semolina & Gruyere Quenelles with Tomato Sauce

First I should explain what a Quenelle is. It is usually a fish or meat mousse enriched with cream and eggs, then shaped with spoons and poached. In this case we are using semolina and gruyere cheese as a base and will shape it by rolling on the floured surface. It is another dish from Maman Blanc. It is a simple everyday dish, which can also grace a dinner party. Ensure that you buy the best Gruyère as it will define the quality of the dish.

Semolina & Gruyere Quenelles with Tomato Sauce

Ingredients Required

For the quenelles
300ml Milk
50g Unsalted butter
100g Semolina
50g Plain flour
1 Egg yolk (organic or free range)
1 Egg (organic or free range)
120g Gruyere cheese, grated finally over a tray
3 pinches Salt
2 pinches Freshly ground black pepper
8 grates Nutmeg
Flour to shape quenelles
2L Cold water
For the tomato sauce
1 Medium white onion
3 tbsp Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
2 sprigs Thyme
4 Tomatoes ripe seeded and chopped
100g Tomato sauce
400ml Water
2 pinches Salt
1 pinch Pepper
3 pinches Sugar (optional)
For the topping
50g Gruyere finely grated

Cooking Method

  1. Bring the milk to simmering point, add the butter, semolina and flour. Stir with a wooden spoon for 2 – 3 minutes until it thickens, then stir in the egg, the egg yolk and the gruyere. Turn off the heat. With a palette knife spread the mixture over the tray. Cover with cling film, cook down and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
  2. Whilst the quenelle mixture is cooling, prepare the tomato sauce. On low heat, soften the onion and garlic for 2–3 minutes in the olive oil. Add the thyme, tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook on medium heat for a further 7–8 minutes. Add the water, salt and pepper; cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste, correct seasoning and add sugar if necessary. Purée the sauce in a food processor or liquidiser. Strain (optional).
  3. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  4. Bring a pan of water to simmering point. Lightly flour the work surface. Divide the semolina mixture into 2. Roll each half into a big sausage shape (about 20cm long x 4cm thick). Cut each half into two. Repeat to obtain 4 x 10cm Quenelles. Slide the quenelles carefully into the simmering water. The quenelle will sink to the bottom; when cooked they will rise to the surface, this will take between 8 – 10 minutes. With a flat slotted spoon, lift them carefully onto kitchen paper to absorb excess water.
  5. Pour tomato sauce into a gratin dish (20cm x 20cm), arrange the quenelles into the sauce. Sprinkle gruyere over the quenelles and tomato sauce. Bake for 15 minute in the preheated oven until the cheese is golden and bubbling.