Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Manchego-Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins



I’ve heard that when you have a craving, it can be your body’s way of telling you that it needs a particular nutrient. Wonder what nutrient my body needs that is found in corn meal and grits?

This is such a great time of year for soup. While I love the whole one pot meal deal, I need a little something on the side. For an easy weeknight meal, cornbread is the answer. It goes together and bakes quickly, doesn’t care about the altitude and is open to endless variations.

I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago on Epicurious and thought it would go well alongside a bowl of white chicken chili. I simplified it a little and made muffins instead of a pan of cornbread** which shortened the cooking time and got dinner on the table a little quicker.

Manchego-Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces Manchego cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pickled sliced jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. Combine the cornmeal, flour, Manchego, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Combine the jalapeno, milk, oil, and eggs in a small bowl; mix well.
  5. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Spoon into the muffin tin.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Big hit. Fluffy inside, crispy outside. I am not big on day-old cornbread, but even enjoyed the leftovers rewarmed in the microwave with my soup at work the next day.

Cornbread is traditionally a low-cost food, but I used about $6 of Manchego in the muffins. Manchego is a family favorite, and while the cornbread muffins did not scream MANCHEGO, I will use it again because I love its subtlety. I’ll also try Colby-jack or Monterey-jack as less expensive alternatives.


** Truth is that I am afraid to make a black skillet of cornbread. I have vivid memories of my mom turning out a skillet of cornbread on to a plate while we all prayed silently that it wouldn’t stick.

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