We have a soup night almost every week. I try to keep things interesting by changing up the recipes for both the soup and its accompaniments as often as possible. Still, some favourites do reappear on our table with a certain regularity.
One of those reappearing regulars is a corn muffin, especially if it contains cheddar cheese. Corn muffins are not too sweet, and their slightly granular texture makes an excellent counterpoint to a smooth soup. Served hot, with some butter melting into them and topped with a little pepper jam, they are near perfect. When used for dipping in a bowl of flavourful soup, they’re heaven on a plate.
To make Cheddar Corn Muffins, you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
Combine the cornmeal, milk, sugar, and oil in a large bowl. Beat the egg and mix it in too. Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in the cheddar and toss the mixture gently with our fingers until the cheese is distributed throughout and lightly coated with flour.
Give the wet mixture a good stir. Add in the flour/cheddar mixture and stir the batter just until combined. The mixture should still be lumpy.
Oil a muffin pan and spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them to the top. (I never have enough batter to make a full dozen muffins. If you have empty muffin cups, pour a little water into them. It will help to distribute the heat more evenly.)
Place the muffin pan on the middle rack of the oven and reduce the heat to 350ºF.
Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re lightly browned around the edges and spring back when lightly touched in the center.
Corn muffins are best served warm. The leftovers can be stored for a few days in an airtight container or frozen, but should be reheated before service.
If you want to vary the flavour of these muffins, any of the following will work well in combination with the recipe ingredients:
- chili powder
- finely minced jalapeno or other fresh peppers
- finely minced chilis in adobo
- coarsely grated black pepper
- smoked paprika
- crumbled bacon or finely diced ham
- green onions
- finely chopped sundried tomatoes