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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cheesy corn & bacon muffins


In their original recipe these were vegetarian, but this meat-eating girl said balls to that! It's a cheesy corn jalapeno muffin recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, who I admit I don't know very well, but I understand he engenders very passionate reactions in people....mainly negative, I noticed. But I was looking for a savoury muffin recipe, and his looked good, so here it is in adapted form.
Actually, I made these to sell at our monthly church market stall, where I've noticed a lot of the elderly people are diabetic and looking to buy something non-sugary. Plus I thought the addition of crispy bacon might attract extra people. I mean, crispy bacon!...hello?!! Mmmmmmm....

I don't have jalapeno peppers in the house (they're not common in Australia), so I used a few splats of a chilli tomato relish we got for Christmas. You know all those hampers with jars of fancy mustards and relishes you get during the festive season and you open them and use it once at a bbq and then they take up room in the fridge? Well, this is a great way to use some of them up! It's also a good way to use up that carton of buttermilk you bought for a recipe and don't know what to do with (incidentally, I freeze mine if there's some leftover).

These are not light, airy muffins like the ethereal lemon ricotta ones of a few weeks ago. Because of the cornmeal (or polenta) these are quite hearty and could tend towards denseness; make sure you don't overmix the batter. But the taste is excellent and I'm finding the few I kept for myself are great for a breakfast on the run. They freeze well, too. I found that my mixture made way more than the 12 indicated in the recipe (like, 18!). Maybe Emeril makes jumbo-sized muffins? Maybe each muffin should have had more mixture in it? Also, I'm passing on a tip to you lucky readers; if you decide to use paper muffin cups, make sure you grease/spray them first! I found the mixture stuck to the cases something shocking. I felt very foolish forgetting to do that...
Read on for the recipe:


Cheesy corn and bacon muffins
adapted from an Emeril Lagasse recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (polenta)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne or chilli powder (optional)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or melted butter
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2-3 tablespoons tomato relish/minced jalapeno peppers/chutney/mustard etc. (Anything with a bit of a spicy kick)

2-3 slices cooked crispy bacon

grated parmesan and rosemary sprigs to decorate

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin with the softened butter and set aside.


Fry or grill the bacon slices until crispy, and cut into small pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cayenne and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing just until it forms a batter, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the corn, cheese, bacon pieces and relish/jalapenos.

Divide evenly among the 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with a little parmesan, if you like. Poke a small sprig of rosemary on top of each if you want to do the elegant presentation thing. bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 12
large muffins (or 18 smaller ones)



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