Words

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cobblers!


This, my friends is a beef cobbler.

Actually that's not quite accurate. It's a spicy Mexican Beef Cobbler, and even though my new friend Iris was darn close with Cobbler, the filling was a bit of a mystery.

So what is a cobbler, I hear you cry? (And yes, I can hear all you smart arses out there saying "A guy who repairs shoes"....)

Cobbler refers to a variety of dishes, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom, consisting of a fruit or savoury filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a pastry topping, then baked in an oven.

So what is the dealio with it being called a cobbler, eh? Well...

It seems the name may have originated in the early British American colonies. English settlers, unable to make traditional suet puddings due to lack of suitable ingredients and cooking equipment, instead covered a stewed filling with a layer of uncooked plain scones/biscuits, fitted together. When fully cooked, the surface has the appearance of a cobbled street.

In the US there are different varieties of cobbler in different regions, with an array of lovely names such as the Grunt, the Sonker, the Pandowdy , the Buckle and the Slump. Whoa. And let's not forget the Apple Brown Betty.

In the UK and the Commonwealth, the scone-type topping is predominant, both for fruity and savoury versions. Along with its counterpart, the Crumble, the Cobbler was promoted heavily during WW2 by the Ministry of Food,  since both are filling yet require less butter than a traditional pastry, and can be made with margarine. They have remained popular since, with cobblers becoming a staple of work canteens and school dinners.

Howsabout a recipe, eh?

Try this one, for a Vegetable Cobbler to use up all those lovely Winter Vegetables.


1 small swede - (rutabaga if you're from the US)
2 parsnips
2 leeks
2 carrots
broccoli bunch - broken up into florets
1 cup of whole cranberries - fresh or frozen (optional)
1.5 litres vegetable stock - you can make this up from vegetable stock cubes
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
butter or margarine
plain flour

Peel and dice the swede and parsnips.
Peel and slice the carrots and leeks.

In a large stock pot, make a roux out of approximately 2 oz of margarine and 3 tablespoons of plain flour. Cook the roux for 2 minutes but don't let it brown. Beat in the vegetable stock until it has all been added and add in the all spice. You've now got a pretty good runny gravy. Leaving the broccoli to one side (you'll need that for later), place the prepared vegetables into this vegetable gravy. Cover the stock pot and let it simmer away on LOW heat while you prepare the scones. Don't forget to stir this from time to time so that it doesn't stick and burn.

The Cheese Scone or baking powder biscuit topping.

8 oz or 2 cups plain flour
2 big teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 oz or 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
5 oz or 1/2 cup margarine
5 oz or 2/3 cup milk

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl, add in the margarine and blend together until you have it looking like breadcrumbs. Add in the grated cheese and the milk. Make a dough that is not too soft to roll out. If it has become too sticky, just carefully add a bit more flour. Don't worry about the lumps of cheese. Roll out the dough and cut out the round scone or biscuit shapes.

Place the broccoli florets in a pan of boiling water for half a minute to blanch them. They'll look funny when you bake them otherwise. Then drain the broccoli.

Now go back to your vegetables that have been simmering away and remove the pot from the heat. Please be careful with the next step because it's hot.

Dump it all into a very large casserole dish and arrange the uncooked scone shapes on top of it all. Place the broccoli florets between the scone shapes, stem side down. You can choose to grate a bit more cheese over the top at this point if you desire.

Pop this into a medium oven (approximately 180 C or 350 F) for about 40 minutes or so. The scones will have risen and become golden brown.

Remove from the oven, let it set for a few minutes to cool down and then serve.


OK then, how about the next Name This Food! food?

Name it!

5 comments:

  1. That veggie cobbler sounds terrific. I might get around to trying it one day ... I'm terrible in the kitchen.

    The mystery food ... hmmm. Gosh. I'm stumped. It looks like a crab or salmon patty that is breaded, but I'm surely dead wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not crab or salmon. It's breaded, yes. But not an item of seafood.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Are those mushroom caps?

    I never would have guessed the veggie cobbler. I don't think I've heard those words together. My side of the pond would probably call it a "casserole".

    I would like to eat it nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Er.... wouldn't have guessed "beef cobbler" either.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, it's true, a lot of so-called casseroles in the US have some sort of topping or crust, especially in the Southern states. And yes indeed, those are breaded mushrooms. Chalk up another victory for Iris! I am going to have to start giving actual prizes, I think.

    ReplyDelete

Come on and chew the fat!

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