October 29, 2010

Vegetable Cobbler

AKA...a way to use up all those vegetable leftovers!

I saw this recipe last week on Ezra Pound Cake (one of my favorite cooking blogs) and it immediately captured my attention. I suffer from "Leftover Vegetable Syndrome", which means I find myself with one lonely leek, a sad looking onion or two, dried up carrots and a few other random others rolling around in the crisper drawer. I never know what to do with them! I have also been craving chicken pot pie, but Alex isn't really a fan. So...here is the perfect recipe to not only meet my craving, but to use up all my veggies! YAY! The great thing about this recipe is that you can really use whatever vegetables you have around the house. Feel free to throw in all those leftover bits and pieces!

The vegetables, spices and broth simmer together to create a delicious and thick filling, and then the whole thing is topped with a buttery herb biscuit dough. It felt pretty labor-intensive to me, but I'm a bit biased right now since anything that requires me to stand for more than 5 minutes is kind of tiring! I was missing a key ingredient (mustard) and I think that would have really pulled everything together. Overall, it was delicious - hot, flavorful, filling and fairly healthy too. It also made a huge batch, so we'll have plenty of leftovers during this cold weekend.

Vegetable Cobbler
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake & Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or butter)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 fennel bulb, core removed, thinly sliced (optional. I used a leek instead)
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 to 5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes (or butternut squash)
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (or parsnips)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups water or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of hot sauce (optional)

Biscuit Topping:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (or any herb you have on hand)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.

Warm the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onions, fennel and garlic, cover, and cook on medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the salt, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, mushrooms and mustard. Cook until the mushrooms start to release their juices, about 5 minutes.

Add the sweet potato, white potato, carrot, black pepper and water or stock, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender.

Stir the dissolved cornstarch mixture into the simmering vegetables, stirring constantly. When the liquid starts to thicken, mix in the peas, corn, soy sauce and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. (You can also add a dash of hot sauce.)

Pour the vegetables into the prepared baking dish, and set aside. (Note: I found that there was too much liquid for the baking dish, so I scooped out all the veggies first and then slowly added the broth until it almost reached the top. If I had used the whole thing, I would have had an overflow!)

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter and buttermilk or yogurt. Combine the wet and dry ingredients with as few strokes as possible to make a soft dough.

Drop the biscuit batter over the vegetables in the dish in six equal mounds (I just scattered it all around for better coverage!). Sprinkle the dill (or whatever herb you're using) over the dough.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of a biscuit comes out clean. Serve immediately.