This unnatural love of cornmeal, mixed with my latest obsession - a new, non-stick muffin tin - and a few veggies that needed to be used up gave me the perfect excuse to experiment.
I made two batches of muffins, the first was vegetarian, with caramelized onions, chopped up chives, and shredded cheese, while I added lardons into the second batch.
First, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, chop up one onion (see instructions for this here), place a sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt a tablespoon of butter, and add the onions. Let them cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure they don't burn. Once the onions have a nice, translucent, caramel tint, remove from heat and place in a prep bowl.
Add the packet of lardons (these are chopped slab bacon bits - you can also use thick cut bacon if you have that on hand) to the now-vacant pan, lowering the flame to a medium heat. Give the lardons 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice and be careful not to overcook them (they will start to smell burnt and be chewy). Remove from heat and place in a prep bowl when done. Chop a fresh bunch of chives and set aside.
The process for making the actual cornbread batter is fairly simple and takes about five minutes. First, place equal parts cornmeal and flour in a medium to large mixing bowl. Add baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix thoroughly and add the milk, oil, honey, and beaten eggs. Mix until combined and add a tbsp more of milk if you want a thinner consistency.
Lightly grease the muffin tin and place about 1/4 c batter in each cup. Add roughly a tsp of caramelized onions, cheese, and a sprinkling of chives, layering this with another 1/4 c batter. Top with more cheese. Each cup should be about 3/4th full. *If you want to skip straight to the bacon-filled muffins, you can either add lardons to each layer or mix everything into the batter, filling each cup with 1/2 c of batter.
Bake for 15-20 min. Muffins will be done when the top is just turning golden brown and a knife inserted into the top comes out clean.
I made one vegetarian batch, layering the batter and ingredients as directed above and one non-veggie batch, mixing all of the remaining ingredients into the batter and topping with cheese. I loved both outcomes and all of my taste-testers were happy.
- 2 c cornmeal
- 2 c flour
- 6 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1 1/2 c milk
- 1/2 c oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 c lardons
- 1 bunch chives
- 3 c shredded cheese
- 1 large sweet onion (Vidalia)
- 1 tbsp butter
- bake at 425 for 15-20 min
- makes 24 muffins