Recently Taste of Home put out a challenge to their Field Editors to submit new ideas for the traditional "Pigs In a Blanket" dish. We were given free reign to try any new combination of ingredients that we wished, for any course. The exact words were, "We're looking for any kind of pork 'blanketed' in some way."
While trying to pull together dinner one evening and surveying ingredients on hand, an idea for a new pig in a new blanket came to me. On hand there was a boxed Fleischmann's cornbread mix, some Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and chilies, and a package of smoked sausage brats. It was like being on Chopped!
I saw an opportunity not only to try this new recipe but to also use a mini spongecake pan. (Come on, who am I kidding? It's a Twinkie pan.)
Combining the cornbread mix with the diced tomatoes and chilies gave the batter some spicy heat. Each spongecake well is filled about halfway with the batter. I cooked the brats until they were hot and juicy... that's right, hot and juicy. After chopping them in half a portion went into each batter pocket. They were finished off with a dollop of remaining batter and a generous pinch of shredded Mexican blend cheese.
It was a kind of Pigs In a Blanket serendipity: not only did I have a perfect amount of batter to fill the wells in my spongecake pan they also baked up perfectly, and I was able to pop them out of the pan without a fuss! The family was pleased with them, which is always a bonus. Though the cakes looked small on the plate they were actually pretty filling.
Well, that was one challenge down. The Field Editors were debating whether someone would be able to come up with a Pigs In a Blanket dessert. A dessert that contained a pork product, mind you. And so I did: check out this recipe for Chocolate Covered Bacon in Pastry.
Smoked Brats & Spicy Cornbread Cakes
- 1 15-ounce package cornbread mix (such as Fleischmann's)
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, drained
- 1 12-ounce package Johnsonville Smoked Brats
- 2/3 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a mini spongecake pan* with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl mix together the whole milk, egg, melted butter, and drained tomatoes. Gently fold in the cornbread mix until the batter is just moistened through - do not overmix.
- Spoon 1/4-cup of cornbread batter into each spongecake well, 10 total. Slice each of the brats in half to make two short pieces. Place one piece into the cornbread batter in each well and press in slightly. Divide the remaining batter over the top of each of the sausages - each should be able to get 1 tablespoon of batter. Top each with about 2 teaspoon of shredded cheese. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 25-27 minutes until the cornbreads are cooked through - a toothpick tester should come out clean.
- Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. After cooling carefully tip the cornbread cakes out of the pan and arrange on plates. Serve while hot, with sour cream and salsa.
Yield: serves 5