Chilli Cheese Polenta Muffins
How do you feel about making some real comfort food? These Chilli Cheese Polenta Muffins are little morsels of savoury deliciousness with a big punch of yum. They’re a coming together of flavours and influences: part-Mexican, part-American. I guess these might come under the banner of ‘corn bread’? Who knows.
What I am certain of is how good they taste! They’re:
- savoury and slightly nutty, with a mix of spelt flour and polenta;
- a little sweet, thanks to the delightful cubes of sweet potato combined into the batter;
- spiced with cumin, coriander, paprika and chilli flakes; and
- stuffed with a cheesy centre!
They have a wonderful texture, too. Soft and creamy, but with a little crumbly bite from the polenta. Not super airy like a sweet muffin, but not too dense either. And the sweet potato! It’s such an unexpected treat when you bite into the little cubes. If you read last week’s post, you’ll see that I’ve released you from the era of pumpkin, so we’re now firmly into sweet potato… its just incredibly versatile! (But I’ll be back with something pumpkin related next week – and we still have plenty of scope for winter squash.)
For the cheesy surprise, I used my Tangy Spreadable Cashew Cheese, but pre-made vegan cream cheese would also be great. You could even try it with this Rosemary-Baked Almond Cream Cheese for a sharper flavour.
These muffins are also really easy to make, and the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes. The batch I cooked this week has been enjoyed:
- dunked into bowls of hot soup (the cheesy centre works perfectly with the salty tofu bacon in this rustic white bean soup);
- as an afternoon desk snack; and
- with a big pot of black bean chocolate chilli.
They’re hearty, comforting, filling and just the thing for a cold November day.
Well that was different, wasn’t it?
A lot of people could probably use some comfort this week, in the wake of events relating the man who shall not be named. I know you most likely come here for recipes, and perhaps, sometimes, you even read the other stuff I write about; but sometimes things are too big to gloss over.
Brexit, for one. That was the shocker that continues to shock, in the unravelling of attitudes, opportunity and many people’s feelings of belonging.
And then… this. We went to sleep on Tuesday night listening to the radio commentary live from somewhere in New York; pundits certain – absolutely certain – that there was no way Hillary wouldn’t win. A few hours later, in the shower, I turned the radio back on with a sense of excitement; and promptly felt my eyes filling with hot tears. Disbelief.
I have an attachment to the States, which is reflected by a lot of the people I chat with on social media; so it was really strange to spend a whole day trailing the rolling coverage while they still slept, and didn’t yet know. When people finally popped online Wednesday evening UK time, the sense of vulnerability was palpable; everyone seemed so numb.
I hope you don’t mind me sharing my reactions to these events. I welcome anyone who’s interested to join the little community we have here. Primarily, I write recipes with commentary – not the other way around; but I’m not a robot. I make no judgement on anyone’s democratic choices, but I wanted to reflect just a little on such a surprising week.
America: I wish you all the best for the upcoming weeks, months and years. Whoever you voted for, things are going to change. What lies ahead… we must all keep hope in our hearts.
And muffins in our tummies.
- Muffin Mix
- 300g sweet potato, peeled
- 160ml non-dairy milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 150g spelt flour
- 100g coarse polenta
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Pinch of good salt
- A handful of fresh coriander (about 5 leaves & stalks), chopped
- 2 tbsp olive/rapeseed oil
- 9 tsp cashew cheese or vegan cream cheese
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Put a medium saucepan of water on the hob to boil and put a colander above it. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1cm chunks, put these into the colander and cover with a small pan lid. Cook for 10 minutes, until soft.
- Meanwhile, make the muffin mix. Combine the milk and vinegar/lemon juice in a jug and set aside to curdle.
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the polenta, baking powder, chilli flakes, cumin seeds, salt and fresh coriander.
- The potatoes should be ready now, so remove from the heat. Stir these into the flour mixture, followed by the milk and oil.
- Line (or grease) a muffin tin - I use little slips of parchment paper because the mixture doesn't stick, whereas it can do with muffin cases.
- Spoon 1 tsp of the mixture into each of the holes. Then put 1 tsp of vegan cheese into each, followed by more muffin mixture.
- Top with smoked paprika and pumpkin seeds.
- Cook in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes.
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