What better way to fend off the winter doldrums than baking? I've seen such a flurry of thanksgiving recipes recently that it seemed time for me to try out some of the classics - starting with this smoky cornbread.
I love the idea of celebrating with food, and thanksgiving seems to trump even the feasting excesses of Christmas for our American friends. I have to admit that I feel slightly jealous - why does the US get two food-fests at this time of year while we get only one? There's only so much a girl can eat on Christmas day! Tut.
Reading up on the must-have thanksgiving dishes made me realise how little I knew about this type of food. These cornbread muffins are delish, and excellent with the spicy soups and stews that have started to creep onto my table this month. But I will need time, and possibly therapy, to come to terms with the dish of mashed sweet potato topped with mini-marshmallows.
I've added smoked paprika to this classic cornbread recipe for the sweet aromatic note it lends - probably beyond the pale for a traditional thanksgiving dinner, but I think I can get away with it over here in London.
CORNBREAD MUFFINS WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA
190g (1½ cups)fine cornmeal
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
75g (½ cup) plain white flour
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
3½ tsp baking powder
1 cup of fresh sweetcorn, cut from the cobs (or frozen sweetcorn)
3 large eggs
415ml (2 cups) milk
2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
75g (5 tbsp) melted butter
plus, a dozen 12cm squares of greaseproof paper
1) Sieve the dry ingredients - flour, cornmeal, sugar, paprika, sea salt and baking powder - together into a large bowl.
2) In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter and green chilli, then stir in the sweetcorn. Fold gently into the dry flour mixture, taking care not to overmix it, or it the muffins will be chewy and tough.
3) Tuck the greaseproof squares into the bases of 12 deep muffin tins, then spoon the mixture equally between the cases. Bake at 450f/220c/gas mark 7 for 16-19 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.