Pimento Cheese Muffins

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Adapted from Lincoln Carson
Food&Wine Magazine, December 2014

Chef Lincoln Carson’s  mixes his version of pimento cheese into a muffin  batter, that gives you those cheesy, peppery flavors in every bite. The muffins can be made ahead time and you can keep them at room temperature overnight.

The original recipe also  called for Pimento cheese, to be served on side, but I opted for a homemade fruit jelly made of plums. The sweetness of the jelly and the spicy cheesy muffins were a perfect combination.

Makes 12 Muffins

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tablespoon Harrisa(See Cook’s Note)
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
3 Tablespoons sliced scallions
3 Tablespoons minced parsley
1  1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
5 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups)
3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese (1/2 cup)
4 ounces drained jarred pimientos, chopped (1/2 cup)
Plum, Grape or Apple Jelly, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the paprika, salt, baking powder, baking soda and pepper. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the eggs, butter, harissa, chives, onion, scallions, parsley and Worcestershire until smooth. Whisk into the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in the cheese and chopped pimientos.

Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop the batter into 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 18 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and serve with  your favorite fruit jelly.
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COOK’S NOTES: The original recipe called for a Harissa Paste, the brick-red Tunisian chile paste, is available at specialty food stores and markets like Whole Foods. In this adaptation, Williams-Sonoma Harrisa Spice was used. You can also make you own harissa seasoning with this recipe provided by Whole Foods.

 

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