Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Walnut, Goat Cheese and Herb Muffins

Muffins are the easiest bread to whip up.  No yeast, not kneading, no rising.  I love sweet muffins for breakfast or an afternoon snack, and I have certainly had muffins that are less sweet and more savory, but I really wanted to develop something straight up savory.

I have many recipes for sweet muffins that use applesauce or fruit purée to make them moist, and it occurred to me that a puréed onion would have the same effect.  It also makes the batter tangy and unique.  I add a crunchy walnuts and creamy goat cheese with a hit of fresh herbs to make these little packages full of surprises.  These are perfect with a bowl of soup or chili, slathered with butter, melting into its nooks and crannies. Savory muffins would also be a twist at brunch, alongside sausage, grits or a ham.

Walnut, Goat Cheese and Herb Muffins

You can substitute oregano or sage for the marjoram if you prefer, or use a combo of soft, leafy herbs. You can make these in mini-muffin pans.

1 medium yellow onion (to make 1 cup purée)

10 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Several grinds of fresh black pepper

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

Peel the onion and cut it into chunks and purée it in a food processor or strong blender until smooth (I use a mini-processor). You should have 1 cup of purée.

Whisk the cooled, melted butter and eggs together in a large bowl.  Add the onion purée and stir to combine.  Stir in the flour, baking powder salt and pepper until just moist.  Add the goat cheese, marjoram and walnuts and stir until just combined.  Don’t overwork the batter; just stir until everything is mixed.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full.  Bake for 25 – 20 minutes until golden and browned around the edges and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

The muffins will keep in an airtight container for a day, but are best served warm.  Loosely wrap them in foil and reheat in a warm oven.

Makes 12


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