Tomato Cobbler with Cheese Biscuit Topping

grannie geek, casseroles, tomato cobbler with biscuits This is the thing I really love about the Internet.  As I sit through reading about more of the same, every once in a while a recipe makes my eyes go wide, my jaw drop, and I have to make it – RIGHT NOW! grannie geek, bowl of tomatoesI was searching for inspiration and there it was staring me in the face.  Tomato Cobbler with Biscuits looked too good to be true. Why had I never thought of doing something like this before? And, it just so happened that I collected a very large bowl filled with tomatoes from our garden that morning. Tomatoes are a fruit, right?  They’re juicy and slightly sweet, and with a savory, crunchy topping?  Oh my – sheer genius.  It must have been fate.  The other reason this is a perfect recipe is that you don’t have to use your prettiest tomatoes for the cobbler.  A few blemishes here and there – just cut them out. grannie geek, bowl of tomatoes 2Many of the recipes I found for this dish called for cherry tomatoes. Those looked pretty. Others had a variety of different colored cherry tomatoes, yellow, red, purple – very pretty.  And if you don’t have a bounty of fresh tomatoes, you can make the casserole using canned tomatoes. How versatile is that? While this scrumptious cobbler takes an hour to bake, putting all the ingredients together is a cinch.  I started at 4:30 and we were ready to eat by 6:30 – the cobbler needs to rest for 20 minutes before serving.  The majority of prep time is baking and resting.  Many of the recipes I found online called for thyme.  I’m not a huge thyme fan, so I added basil and a little pinch of thyme.  And the biscuits called for grated Gruyere cheese – I substituted sharp cheddar, because that’s what I had.  Another interesting cheese substitution is blue cheese or gouda.  I bet that would be delicious, too. Are you ready?

grannie geek, caramelized onionsSlice one very large (I had an enormous one.) or two medium onions, cut it in half, and then into thin strips.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons butter.  Once the butter begins to sizzle, add the onions.  Caramelize the onions and cook down until they are browned and about half their original volume.  Stir the onions with a wooden spoon during cooking to make sure all the onions are browning and they’re not burning.  This may take as long as 25 minutes. grannie geek, caramelized onions and spicesSprinkle on the minced garlic, basil, and thyme.  Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until you can smell the spices.  Remove the onion mixture to a bowl to cool.  Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Preheat your oven to 375°F. grannie geek, tomatoes and flourWhile the onions are cooking, rinse tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes into eighths.  Put the tomatoes into another bowl, juices and all.  (Actually, I just cut the tomatoes over the bowl to capture all the juicy goodness.)  Add 3 Tablespoons flour to the tomatoes, and mix together. You can use a spoon.  I used my hands.  The tomatoes should be coated, and you should not see any flecks of white flour. grannie geek, prebaked tomato cobblerAdd the tomatoes to the onions, or the onions to the tomatoes, depending on the size bowls you’re using.  (Have I mentioned I have a weakness for large mixing bowls?  Never met one I didn’t fall in love with.)  OK, now that you’ve got the casserole filling ready, pour it into a 9×13 pan, and spread the filling evenly.  I lightly sprayed the bottom of the dish with vegetable spray, really out of habit.  You can omit it, if you like.  I put the casserole in the oven, so it was warm when I added the biscuit topping. The rest of the irresistible cobbler story . . . biscuits!!! grannie geek, biscuits flour and shorteningIn a large mixing bowl, add 2 cups all-purpose flour.  I imagine you could substitute 1/2 of wheat flour for some of the white flour, again, if you wish.  Add 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk.  Then add 1/2 cup vegetable shortening.  (You could substitute cold butter cut into small pieces.)  I just use my whisk to cut in the shortening.  After all, this is a rough biscuit, and the whisk does a great job – it doesn’t have to be perfect. grannie geek, biscuit dough with cheeseAdd 1 cup of grated cheese, and mix with your hands or a fork, until the cheese is coated with flour and evenly distributed.  I like to sift the flour and cheese through my fingers to get this quickly accomplished.grannie geek, biscuit dough with heavy creamAdd 1 1/2 cups heavy cream – yes, that’s right.  Kind of makes up for how good you feel eating all those tomatoes, huh?  Mix the cream and other ingredients with a fork, until a rough dough is formed. grannie geek, tomato cobbler prebakedRemove the tomatoes from the oven, and arrange the dumplings over the tomatoes.  Form the dough into balls using 1/2 cup of dough for each dumpling.  I used a 1/2 cup cookie scoop.  If you have some leftover, sprinkle additional cheese over the dumplings. grannie geek, casseroles, tomato cobbler with biscuitsBake at 375°F for 60-70 minutes.  I baked mine for 45 minutes, rotated the casserole dish, and continued baking for another 15 minutes.  The tomatoes and onions should be nicely bubbling, and the biscuits will have risen and become beautifully browned.  Remove the cobbler from the oven, and let rest for 20 minutes before serving. When I told my husband that we were having tomato cobbler for dinner, he gave me this “deer in the headlights” stare.  I think he was a little shocked.  After all, it’s not meat, meat, or meat.  I reassured him, “You’ll ask me to marry you all over again.”  You know what?  He did!

Slightly adapted from traceysculinaryadventures.com; Martha Stewart.com

Tomato Cobbler with Cheese Biscuit Topping
A rich biscuit crust tops juicy tomatoes for a delicious and hearty main or side dish
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Cobbler
Serves: 6-8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • Filling
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 mediumyellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 pounds ripe whole tomatoes, cut into eighths (may substitute cherry tomatoes, no need to cut them up)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Biscuit Topping
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1½ cups all-purpose flour mixed with ½ cup whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening (or 1 stick unsalted butter cut into small cubes)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and olive oil. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the onions. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they caramelize - 25 minutes. You may want to turn down the heat, if the onions begin to brown too quickly.
  3. While the onions are cooking, rinse the tomatoes. Cut into eighths, and place in a large bowl, juices and all. Sprinkle tomatoes with 3 Tablespoons flour, mix until there are no traces of flour, and set aside.
  4. Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic, basil and thyme. Stir and continue to cook until you begin to smell the spices - 1-2 minutes. Remove onion mixture to a bowl, and allow to slightly cool. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  5. When the onions have cooled, add them to the tomatoes. Mix with a large spoon or your hands. Pour into a 9x13 pan. Place in the oven while you make the biscuits.
  6. Measure 2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl. Add baking powder and salt. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  7. Add shortening (or butter) to the flour. Using a whisk, pastry blender, or two knives, cut the shortening into the flour, until the mixture is coarse and resembles small peas.
  8. Add grated cheese. Using your hands, gently sift the flour and cheese through your fingers, until the cheese is coated with flour and evenly distributed.
  9. Add cream, and quickly stir with a fork, until the dough comes together. The dough will be rough looking and slightly sticky.
  10. Remove the casserole dish from the oven. Using a ½ cup ice cream scoop or measure form round biscuits, and place the biscuits on top of the tomatoes.
  11. Return the casserole to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Rotate the dish, and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes. Tomatoes will be bubbling and biscuit topping will have risen and become nicely browned.
  12. Let tomato cobbler sit for 20 minutes before serving.
Notes
A number of cheeses may be substituted in the biscuits: gruyere, blue, gouda. The recipe may be halved. It also may be served as a main dish or hearty side dish.

 

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