Blue Corn Muffins
Santa Fe is this interesting mix of Europe and America. The town wraps around a central plaza, distinctly European in flavour, while the buildings are a mix of Spanish architecture and the Pueblo style that imitates the adobe structures of the traditional inhabitants. I say town because it has that feel, but it is actually a city and the capital of New Mexico.
This mixture of cultures is also evident in its food with a mix of Spanish, Mexican and Pueblo Native American influences. In a number of restaurants we ate blue cornmeal muffins that were served before the appetiser instead of bread. While the ingredients would lead you to think this is a savoury muffin, it is like a number American foods, an interesting mix of sweet and savoury. I really like them, not necessarily as part of a meal but definitely for morning tea, or even breakfast. When we got home I searched out blue cornmeal and managed to get some online. The blue cornmeal has a surprisingly distinct corn flavour, which I realise I shouldn’t be, but it really is very ‘corny’! I experimented a little and came up with these muffins, a bit of a combination of he ones we tried in Santa Fe.
Makes 12 muffins
Blue Corn Muffins
180 ml buttermilk
150g butter, softened to room temperature
110g blue cornmeal
60g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 large mild, green chilli, roasted, seeds removed and chopped*
1 corn cob, steamed or boiled and kernels removed
65g cheddar cheese, grated
65g Monterey Jack Cheese, grated (if you can’t find Monterey Jack substitute some mozzarella)
Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin. I sometimes use a piece of the corn husk in the muffin hole to make it look a little more decorative.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the dry ingredients and then the egg and buttermilk mixture. Mix on a slow speed until the ingredients are combined. Take care not to over mix.
Fold through the cheeses, corn kernels and chilli.
Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake for about 25 minutes, or until just firm.
Serve warm with butter.
* If you have a gas stove you can roast the chilli by placing it directly over a low flame and turning it as it blackens and chars. Alternatively place it on a tray lined with alfoil and put it under the grill, turning it as it chars. Cover the chilli with alfoil and let it steam and cool. Once it is cool enough to handle remove the stalk, charred skin and the seeds should be easy to remove. Don’t run it under water to clean it, you’ll lose all of that lovely flavour.