Kathy Casey’s Recipe for Savory Bacon “Cupcakes” with Tabasco Cream Cheese Frosting

When I spotted celebrity chef Kathy Casey at the Seattle Food & Wine Experience, she was deep in autograph mode. Holding court in the Foster Farms Chicken booth, Kathy was signing copies of her book, The Northwest Table. The line was 50 people deep! I waved a quick hello and decided to come back later. (See my Seattle Food & Wine Experience recap here. Photos galore!)

Later...meant peeling Kathy away from a never ending line of fans. But waiting has its rewards! I happily parked myself over a tray of these Savory Bacon "Cupcakes" with Tabasco Cream Cheese Frosting. Sponsored by Foster Farms Chicken, see the map in the back? The red dots represent farmers under the Foster Farm's banner. As a grocery store staple, I had no idea the bulk of their operation was Northwest-driven.

I've never been on a chicken farm and took an opportunity to request...field trip? Hopefully we'll have a date later this year, and I'm guessing these folks will have a hand in that. At the Foster Farms Chicken booth: (L-R) Ira Brill, Foster Farms Director of Marketing and Advertising Services; Chef/Author Kathy Casey from Kathy Casey Food Studios; Heidi White, Fineman PR for Foster Farms.

Oh, man, these Savory Bacon "Cupcakes" are amazing! Minced chicken and bacon add a hearty flavor, while the batter is uncommonly moist and tender. Kathy shared her recipe and frankly, they should come with a word of warning....

...it's impossible to eat just one. Prepare for raving fans!

Kathy Casey’s
Savory Foster Farms & Bacon “Cupcakes”
with Tabasco Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 24

1 cup small diced Foster Farms chicken raw breast (12 ounces wt.)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup each 1/8-inch-diced onion, celery and red bell pepper
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained well
8 strips cooked bacon, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup chopped)

4 - ounce cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

2 thinly sliced green onions

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the cupcakes:
Spray nonstick mini-muffin tins with cooking spray. Set aside.

Cut chicken breast into 1/4-inch small pieces. In a small skillet or sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the chicken breast and sauté for about 3 minutes moving around the pan with a spoon. When chicken is three-quarters cooked then add the onion, celery, and bell pepper for about 3 to 4 minutes more, until vegetables are just starting to get tender. Add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds more. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and Old Bay seasoning; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and sour cream.

Once the cooked mixture is cooled, add the cornmeal mixture to the egg mixture and mix lightly. Fold in the drained corn, bacon, and cooked and vegetables. Do not overmix; fold in just until evenly distributed.

Divide batter between the prepared mini muffin cups, fill to the top – you will get about 24 cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake center comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan and let cool briefly on a wire rack before frosting. The cupcakes can be made up to 1 day in advance, covered, and refrigerated before frosting. Refrigeration is imperative if making in advance. (Poppy’s note self: duh! There’s chicken inside. Keep cupcakes refrigerated!) If reheating cupcakes, warm them for minute or so in a 350-degree F oven before frosting.

To make the frosting:
In a small bowl, mash the cream cheese with a fork, then whisk in the milk and Tabasco until smooth and creamy. Top each cupcake with about 1 teaspoon of frosting then sprinkle with green onion for garnish. Serve warm.

© 2011 by Kathy Casey Food Studios® - Liquid Kitchen™ www.kathycasey.com