Monday, September 10, 2012

Meatless Monday--Tomato Cobbler

So it's September.  I know most of you are all excited for fall.  Maybe you've even had your first morning where the air wasn't warm anymore.  It probably wasn't exactly crisp, but it just wasn't warm.  It was confirmation fall is on its way.

That doesn't happen in Phoenix.  

This time of year is always the most difficult for me.  I long to live somewhere with all four seasons--especially fall, the favorite season I never really thought about until I went to college in Washington, D.C.  But I'm trying to remain positive.  I have so many blessings here--a new house I still smile about two months later (even with a few boxes still around), a church that is starting to feel like home, a job I would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, and lots of family in town.  This year, instead of focusing on the autumn bliss I know will never arrive in September, I'm going to make the best of it.  I'm going to find dishes that are comforting and homey, as all fall dishes should be, but that use the late summer produce we can easily get our hands on around here.  If this cobbler is any indication of my efforts, I may be on to something.  It was, in a word, incredible.  

Tomatoes really hit their peak toward the end of summer and boy do they shine in this dish.  Late summer tomatoes are already darn near perfect and roasting them just concentrates and heightens that sweet, juicy flavor.  Combine those roasted tomatoes with caramelized onions, fresh thyme, and a cheesy biscuit topping and you've got an over-the-top fall-ish meal that's totally worth running the oven while the summer heat lingers.  I promise.

Tomato Cobbler
adapted from Pink Parsley


For the filling:
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
3 lbs. grape tomatoes (I used a mixture of red and yellow)
3 TBSP all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt 
1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper, plus more to taste

For the biscuit topping:
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. sea salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c. plus 2 TBSP grated creamy cheese such as Gruyere or Havarti
1 1/2 c. buttermilk

1.  To make the filling,  heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 min. Add garlic, thyme, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.  Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Can be done 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix caramelized onions, tomatoes, flour, and red pepper with 1 tsp. salt and more black pepper, if desired.  Pour into a 2 qt. casserole or 9x13 baking dish set on a baking sheet (to catch drips).

3.  To make the biscuit topping, whisk together flour, baking powder, thyme and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form.  Gently stir in 1 c. cheese.  Form a well in the center then add buttermilk, stirring with a fork to combine until a slightly sticky dough forms.

4.  Drop clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 c. each) over the tomato filling in a circle, leaving center open.  Sprinkle biscuit tops with remaining 2 TBSP cheese.  Bake until tomatoes are bubbling in the center and biscuits are golden brown, about 1 hour 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes before serving.  Serves 6 as a main dish.


Bridget said...

Kelsey, I feel exactly the same way about fall this year! The last two years, since moving back to New Mexico from the East Coast, I've been so glum during October, when everyone is talking about pumpkin patches and curling up under blankets and apple picking. This year I've decided that 90 degrees or not, I'm going to decorate with pumpkins and candles, bake with apples and cinnamon, and make chili!

That Girl said...

I miss seasons also! It's not the same in California.