When we think of muffins, we rarely think savoury, we rarely think past breakfast or snacks, we rarely think – and that needs to change. Muffins – when packed with sharp cheddar, a hint of heat and a smack of sweet (the corn) – needs to get an invitation to the party. Chili will thank you, casseroles will second it, soups & stews will bring down the gavel – SOLD! – to every bowl filled with something to douse, dip or dunk, on every table, from here to the end of time.
So instead of plain ‘ole boring bread to sop up the juices, get in muffin mode – they take a few minutes to bring together, just as long to bake and are best devoured fresh out of the oven. Your family will think you’ve hired help and they’ll think they’ve died and gone to heaven – so here’s to hired help and heaven – whip up some muffins and start sopping on the serious side – meet cornbread jalapeño muffins.
And just a word before we begin, I cannot stress this enough … stir until just combined! Many quick bread/muffin recipes say this, “stir until just combined”, well, they mean it, I mean it, we all mean it! If you don’t want your muffins to pass for pucks then heed this advice. It is the overmixing that results in a dense, heavy, barely edible muffin that ain’t worth squat … now, let’s make ourselves some muffins …
1. Always start with the wet stuff in one bowl – buttermilk, eggs, melted butter – and the dry in another.
2. Crack a can of creamed corn.
3. Get it in the bowl with the rest of the wet stuff.
4. Get the peppers organized.
5. Get ’em ready to finely chop.
6. Fold in the dry ingredients.
7. Stir in the chopped peppers.
8. Defrost a cup or so of corn.
9. Stir them into the batter.
10. Spray a muffin tin or use liners.
11. Spoon in the batter.
12. ‘Til there’s no more batter and bake for 25-30 minutes.
13. Don’t be deceived by the pale tops.
14. A little brown around the edges is what you’re looking for.
15. ‘Cause it’s around more than just the edges.
16. It’s clear right round the bottom!
yield 12 muffins
INGREDIENTS & METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Get the following wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine:
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 eggs
- 1 can cream-style corn
- 4 tbsps. butter, melted
- 2-3 tbsps. jalapeños, chopped
- 1+ cups corn – fresh, frozen or canned
2. Get the following dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well:
- 11/2 cups cornmeal, yellow or white
- 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Stir in the chopped peppers & corn. Drop spoonfuls into a well-greased muffin tin (or use liners) and bake for 25-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean and the bottoms are nicely browned. And depending on what size muffin tin you have, you may get more than a dozen.
- break the muffins up into bite-sized pieces and spoon chili or baked beans over top
- serve alongside any main – salads, soups, ragùs, casseroles or stews
- get creative with batter add-ins before baking: grated cheese, caramelized onions, crispy chopped bacon, chopped scallions or cilantro, diced chipotle, dried cranberries or chopped pecans, chopped apple, chopped prosciutto or salamis
- cut in thirds and sear in a lightly oiled hot pan before serving
- serve alongside any hearty grain salad like tabbouleh
- break into pieces, let dry out and break into small cubes to use in your favourite stuffing recipe
- bury a 1″ piece of hotdog in the batter in each muffin before baking
- halve, put a slice of goat cheese on top and place under the broiler to melt
- finely crumble and use anywhere you would use breadcrumbs for a topping
- switch up the flavours – try a dash of curry, smoked paprika, cumin, garam masala, sumac, oregano, rosemary, thyme