Monday, January 5, 2015

Ham and Scalloped Potato Muffins #MuffinMonday

A scalloped potato casserole-inspired muffin, with sliced potatoes, lots of cheese, cream and smoked ham. Perfect for breakfast, snack or even lunch. 

For the last couple of weeks our house has been a bustle of creativity and laughter, both in and out of the kitchen. Favorite dishes were cooked, touristy places were visited, a gingerbread mosque was baked and erected, many a cocktail was imbibed and a thousand backgammon games were played amongst the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree and our ancient rag-tag manger scene, which includes such witnesses to the Miracle Birth as a headless wise man, a longhorn and a small rhinoceros, along with the usual shepherds, cows and sheep.

Now the busy bathrooms and crazy kitchen are empty. The forlorn tree, stripped naked of its finery but for the occasional missed wisp of golden tinsel, has trailed fallen needles all the way to the curb of rejection. The dog circles just me now, every hopeful. And the baby Jesus and his eclectic entourage are back in the doll stroller box from Christmas circa 1995, which is their home for 50 weeks of the year.

I look around at the now reassembled living room, furniture back in its accustomed places and I am working on being grateful rather than sad. As much as it would give me joy to keep our daughters with us always, I am grateful that they are exceptionally capable of looking after themselves and are avidly pursuing their dreams.

Trying to look on all the bright sides of this situation, another bonus is that I can cook and bake exactly what pleases me. Last week a post from a friend and fellow blogger Kelli from Kelli’s Kitchen arrived in my email inbox with a recipe for one of my favorite casseroles, scalloped potatoes. Her version is a family favorite, cheesy and creamy but with the welcome addition of ham. If that divine top baked to a golden crunch doesn’t sell you, the tender, cheesy potatoes inside should do the trick. Do go have a look. My thoughts turned, as they do, to the possibility of a ham and scalloped potato muffin but I figured it wouldn’t be very popular with the sweet muffin crowd in residence. So I waited a week. (As it turns out, most of them didn't buy the PR for dried plums vs. prunes anyway. Hey, I tried.)

Totally worth the wait. These guys are delicious. All potato-y and cheesy and that ham? The perfect addition, for sure.

A good savory muffin is great consolation. And you can be sure I have saved some ham to make the original casserole as well.

6 oz or 170g smallish new potatoes
2 cups or 250g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml whipping cream
1/4 cup butter or 60g, melted and cooled
7 oz or 200g extra sharp cheddar, grated
2 1/3 oz or 65g Parmesan, grated
1 cup or 150g baked smoked ham, chopped

Put a pot of water on to boil with a teaspoon or so of salt, as you would to boil pasta. Fill a bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes and set it aside.

Slice your potatoes and pop them in the boiling water.

Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until they are just done. Pour the cooked potato slices into a colander and drain. Transfer them to the bowl of ice water till cool.

Return them to the colander to drain again.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it liberally with oil or non-stick cooking spray.

Combine your flour, baking powder, salt and mustard powder in a large mixing bowl.

Set aside 6 slices of the cooked potato and a couple of small handfuls each of the cheddar, ham and Parmesan for topping the muffins before baking.

Just a little pile of each for topping.

Add the rest of the cheddar into the dry ingredient bowl and stir.

Now add the rest of the sliced potatoes into that bowl. Use a spoon to break the slices into pieces as you stir to combine. Finally, mix in the Parmesan and the ham.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, cream and cooled butter.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stop when they are just combined.

Divide your batter between the 12 greased muffins cups.

Top with reserved Parmesan cheese and ham pieces. Cut your potato slices in half and insert one half slice of potato into the batter in each cup.

Now try to get some reserved cheddar cheese to sit on top and around each potato slice. We aren’t looking for perfect here. Just some cheese on the potato.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to continue cooling on a wire rack.

Since the cheese melts out a little while baking, you may have to run a knife around the outside to remove them, depending on how well you greased the pan.


No comments :

Post a Comment

Where in the world are you? Leave me a comment! It makes me happy to know you are out there.