These cheesy muffins made with spicy canned tomatoes and cornmeal turn leftover ground beef seasoned with taco spices into a great breakfast or brunch option.
Last weekend was a get-‘er-done sort of weekend. We ran errands and crossed to-dos off the list that had been languishing there for ages, some since we had moved into this home more than 16 months ago! I am delighted to say that now I have a little table set up in the study on which to take my food photographs without having to rearrange the dining room each time. Among other things. On day two of the weekend – that would be Saturday here – a song came on that reminded my dear husband of one of our favorite restaurants in Houston. “Let’s go to El Jardín for dinner!” he says. “You are a cruel, cruel man,” I responded. What we wouldn’t give to be able to eat at El Jardín anytime! When my elder sister first started working in Houston, using her relatively freshly earned law degree, her office was just down the road from what would become our favorite Mexican restaurant, in a part of town that is not the most upscale, if you know what I mean. But the margaritas are inexpensive before evening dinner service and the food is deliciously prepared and served with a smile. The décor is cheerful, with brightly painted wooden chairs with straw-covered seats, colorful tile-topped tables and lots of tissue paper flowers and banners of papel picado, those decoratively snipped Mexican folk art tissue squares. Even when we are in Houston, El Jardín is a hike from our home but we make a point of going there whenever we get the chance. So, the short end to this long story is that we had to have Mexican food for the dinner that night. Had to. That’s all. It wasn’t El Jardín but tacos with fixings were the best I could do on short notice, after two long days of getting ‘er done.
When you brown more than 500g (1.1 lb) of ground beef for tacos and you have only two people for dinner, you are going to have leftovers. These muffins are the perfect use for the leftover meat, extending your Mexican meal through breakfast or brunch or even lunch the next day. Next time, make extra, just so you can make these muffins. You won’t be sorry.
1 cup or 150g fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 225g sour cream
1 1/4 cups or 10 oz or 280g Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilies
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
7 oz or 200g (about 1 1/2 cups) leftover seasoned ground beef for tacos
8 oz or 225g extra sharp cheddar or half cheddar and half Monterrey Jack cheese
Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and grease your muffin pan liberally with non-stick spray or butter.
Grate your cheese, if not already grated. Put a handful or so aside to top the muffins before baking.
Measure your cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda and grated cheddar into a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Measure the cream and oil into a small mixing bowl. Add the eggs and the can of Ro-Tel tomatoes –juice and all. Whisk to combine.
Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ones until just mixed.
Set a little of the seasoned ground beef aside for topping the muffins before baking and fold the rest into the batter.
Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups.
Sprinkle the top with the reserved cheese and beef.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until you can see that the sides are turning golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove from the pan, loosening gently with a knife if necessary, and cool further on a wire rack.