“Country cooking” has different connotations depending on where one might be in the world. Many people attest that country cooking involves comfort cuisine foods that originated in the southeastern United States. Quite often such cuisine includes biscuits, gravy, fried chicken, boiled greens and other delicious items made from simple ingredients.
Corn muffins can be another staple of country cooking. Corn meal is a versatile ingredient that is the star of this simple side dish that can be made sweet or savory with just a few substitutions. Check out this lip-smacking version of corn muffins, from “Virgil’s Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook” (St. Martin’s Press) by Neal Corman.
Lip-Smacking Corn Muffins
1 1⁄3 cups yellow cornmeal
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3⁄4 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1⁄2 cup whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2 8-ounce bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh corn kernels
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Butter a muffin tin and dust it with flour.
2. Thoroughly combine the first six ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer. Combine and mix the remaining ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
3. Slowly add the wet mix to the dry, while blending on low speed. Continue blending until entirely incorporated.
4. Fill each muffin tin three-quarters full of the batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.
5. Remove the muffin tins from the oven and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve slightly warm.