Late Summer Tomato Cobbler

By • September 13, 2017 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, fresh basil & warm spices with an easy, rustic drop-biscuit topping.

This recipe is very adaptable and mine can be used as a jumping off point.

Caramelizing the onions is highly highly recommended, but optional. The ingredients below assume you will be caramelizing. When I'm in a hurry, I have just lightly sautéed one onion (or a couple leeks) and garlic instead - and the cobbler has tasted great too.

Likewise, you can adjust the spices to your taste in terms of quantity or if there's a different spice you love or think will pair well (probably not cardamom but whatever floats your boat).

Sometimes, I have also added small dollops of basil pesto or sundried tomato pesto to the warm filling or little dollops of fresh goats cheese would be great to mix in right before arranging the biscuit dough on top. Whatever you have to hand and seems good to you!

The only rule is don't overfill the pie pan! The tomatoes release lots of juice (which will thicken, thanks to the cornstarch) and, when you add the biscuit dough during the final step, the extra weight would cause the dish to spill over if you've added too many tomatoes or lots of extra ingredients.

Speaking of biscuits, the biscuit-topping is adapted from a 'sweet' version in a Cook's Illustrated berry cobbler recipe. But you could use any other biscuit topping if you have a wholewheat or gluten free version you prefer. I have added a few tablespoons of blue cheese or cheddar cheese to the dough to make cheesy biscuits but I'm still playing with ratios so I don't want to include that option here until I've tested that a bit more :)
Deborah Reeves

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Serves 6-8 people

For the Filling

  • 2 Onions (red or yellow), very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Table Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • Water, as needed
  • 1.5 pounds Ripe Tomatoes (I use a mixture of plum, cherry & heirloom from my garden but most anything will work)
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup Fresh Basil, chopped or sliced into ribbons

For the Biscuit Topping

  • 5 ounces Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Stoneground Cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Melted Unsalted Butter, cooled slightly
  • 1/3 cup Buttermilk
  1. If caramelizing the onions, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or high-sided skillet until sizzling. Add onions, 1 teaspoon of salt (and optional brown sugar, if using) and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low and keep cooking, stirring very frequently, for 25-45 minutes depending on how deeply caramelized you prefer your onions. To prevent sticking, and to aid the caramelization process, you may add a splash of water as needed (recommended at least twice during process). Depending on your stove, you may need to adjust the temperature slightly up or down. You will need to pay attention to prevent burning. I like my onions to cook down until quite "jammy" (about 45 minutes) but this is optional. When onions are browned/caramelized to your liking, add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and freshly ground pepper and stir till absorbed. Remove from heat.
  2. Chop tomatoes into bite size chunks. For medium tomatoes, chopping into quarters is enough but large tomatoes may need to be cut into 6 or 8 equal-sized pieces. I leave cherry tomatoes whole. I do not remove seeds or skins.
  3. In a large bowl, sprinkle chopped tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and paprika. Stir lightly to combine ingredients.
  4. Layer caramelized (or sautéed) onions on bottom of a deep-dish 9" glass pie pan or an 8" square pan. Arrange tomatoes evenly on top of onions. Tomatoes will cook down so you don't need to arrange it 'prettily'. Don't overfill pie pan as tomatoes will release lots of juices as they roast. Place in oven and roast for 30-35 minutes or until filling is hot and bubbling around the edges and the tomatoes are *very slightly* caramelized or browning on top. When ready, remove from oven and gently stir in freshly chopped basil before arranging biscuit dough on top.
  5. While tomatoes are roasting in the oven, you can prep the dry biscuit ingredients. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to combine. I like to add a few twists of ground pepper too (optional).
  6. Whisk melted and slightly-cooled butter & buttermilk in small bowl. ONE MINUTE before tomatoes come out of the oven, add these wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir with rubber spatula until just combined and no dry pockets remain. Don't over-mix. Sometimes I need to add a splash more buttermilk if too dry.
  7. To assemble and bake cobbler: Pinch off biscuit dough into 8 equal-sized pieces and place on hot tomato-onion filling, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart (they should not touch). Bake until filling is bubbling and biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through, 20-22 minutes. Cool cobbler on wire rack 10 minutes and serve.

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