Breakfast muffins are a great thing to make. They are so easy to pull together. They look beautiful, and a nice big basket of them is always a hit for brunch. You can also make a batch the night before and toss one or two (three for me) in the oven to warm the following morning while you make coffee.
These muffins are a great way to use the pork breakfast sausage that I get from my CSA, but in all honesty, the recipe is fairly versatile. You can make them meatless, with broccoli, or any other vegetable that you like. You can use Parmesan or Asiago instead of Cheddar.
The tricks are to not over mix your batter, and to make sure that your vegetables have as little moisture as possible so that your muffins don’t turn out to be soggy.
I have been playing around with different combinations of ingredients and like the mix of roasted red peppers and spinach. I think it’s because I like the idea of starting the day with lots of color!
1 pound of bulk breakfast sausage
1 large red bell pepper
6 ounces of baby spinach
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup of whole milk
2 cups of all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
How to prepare:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. If you have a gas range, set the red bell pepper directly on the gas burner with the heat on high. Turn the pepper periodically to make sure that the skin chars evenly.
If you have an electric range, rub the bell pepper with olive oil and place it on a cookie sheet set underneath the broiler. You can also rub the pepper with olive oil and pop it into a 450° oven. Remove it when the skin is blistered and blackened.
When your pepper is nice and charred, put it in a clean plastic grocery bag or a small paper bag and wait for it to cool. When it is cool enough to handle, you should be able to gently rub off all the charred skin from the pepper. Seed the pepper, and discard the seeds and the stem. Dice the pepper and spread the pieces out onto paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
3. In a large skillet, brown the breakfast sausage over medium to medium-high heat, breaking up any large pieces with the side of your wooden spoon or spatula. Remove the browned sausage to a large mixing bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the drippings behind as possible.
4. Wipe out the skillet and wilt the spinach in it over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil and about a tablespoon of water. When the spinach has wilted, remove it to a colander to drain. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, gently press as much liquid out of the leaves as you can without squeezing them.
5. Roughly chop the spinach leaves and add them to the browned sausage meat along with 2/3 of the roasted red pepper (reserve 1/3 of the peppers to top the muffins), the cheese, the milk and the eggs. Gently stir all the ingredients together until everything is well-mixed.
6. Sift together the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Gently fold the flour mixture, a little bit at a time, into the other ingredients until the batter just comes together. Do not over mix.
7. Divide the mixture evenly among all the muffin cups. Top each with a few pieces of roasted red pepper. Bake the muffins for about 20-25 minutes. The tops should be browned and golden. Let them cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.