As a direct result of my weekly meal planning initiative, when food magazines show up at my house, I actually read them looking for delicious, frugal, easy meals to include in the plan. This little number showed up in a recent Vegetarian Times. Yeah, I had to change it up a little, so I’ll share my non-dairy version with you. This is a winner – if you and your tribe like delicious stews with bread dumplings on top. Is there someone who doesn’t like such things?
This savory cobbler is essentially a vegetable stew that has cornbread baked on top of it. In addition to the ingredients that you will need, you’re going to need a Dutch Oven of some kind (no I don’t mean the horrible smelly thing that your big brother did to you when you were little – wait, was that just us?), but a large pot that can go in the oven as well as being on the stovetop. We received a beautiful La Creuset version many years ago, but this market has really grown and now Cuisinart and many other reputable brands make some kind of enameled cast iron cookware. Lodge makes one without enamel that is very affordable, and if you keep it seasoned, also nice and non-stick. It is far more affordable but, I should warn you, VERY heavy. If you are going to buy a dutch oven, please be sure that handles are also oven safe so you don’t get a melty mess.
We enjoyed our savory cobbler very much. Well, okay 75% of us did – and those of you who’ve been playing along know that this is a winning number for my household. Ms. Picky Pants enjoyed the cornbread dumplings and then stirred the stew around a lot. So, really it’s more than 75% but I’m not going to get too technical. It’s a lovely recipe and has the added bonus of some built in flexibility so you can score at least a 75% at your house too. 😉 Next time I will try to make the stew in a slow cooker – and I’ll give some speculative instructions on how I think that should be done in the recipe itself… shall we get on with it already?
Three Sisters Savory Cobbler (adapted from this version in Vegetarian Times)
- Olive oil for the pan
- 2 medium/large onions chopped to whatever fineness you like in stews
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or mashed
- 1/4 c flour (I used WW pastry)
- 2 cups beans (I used kidney and black because I prepped them for another meal, so they were already soaked
- 6 c veggie broth or stock
- 2 T tomato paste
- 2 sprigs fresh or 1 t dried: thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram
- 1 medium butternut squash, chopped in about 1 inch pieces
- 3 T dijon mustard
- 6 oz (about 4 c) deep greens (we used kale)
- 1 1/2 t smoked paprika (you could use a hotter alternative such as chipotle pepper or even a hot sauce if that works for you – I was attempting to get 100% approval)
- 1 c coconut milk (or whatever kind you like)
- 1 c whole wheat pastry flour (or GF flour)
- 1 c cornmeal
- 1 1/2 t baking powder (I am realizing as I type that I left this out and it was still great, although the dumplings were a little dense and would have been more biscuity)
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 3/4 t salt
- 1 egg (I used flax)
For the stew, if you are working from dried beans, you will need to soak them overnight before hand (and you will not need the full 2 cups as they expand) AND precook them a bit so you don’t have to cook the stew for a terribly long time. Warm olive oil in a dutch oven. Add onions and a sprinkle of salt. Saute until they are just starting to brown. Add red pepper and cook for another minute. Add garlic and give it a couple of stirs. Then sprinkle flour in and stir to coat the veggies in flour. Cook for a minute or two but stir constantly so flour doesn’t burn. Add water, beans, tomato paste, herbs and paprika (If I were going to use a slow cooker, I’d do it here and add the squash and mustard, leaving the greens to add at the end). Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until your beans are tender (time will vary according to canned vs. dried, how long you precooked if dried, etc.). Remove herbs if you used fresh. Add squash, mustard and greens. Return to simmer until squash is tender.
While simmering, preheat the oven to 425 (arrange racks so there’s enough room for the Dutch Oven). Combine dry ingredients for topping in medium sized bowl. Whisk milk and “egg” together in smaller bowl. Add wet to dry and stir until just combined. Remove filling from heat. Use cookie scoop or soup spoon to drop topping on top of the filling. Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until topping is browned.
Serve a few dumplings with a hearty ladleful of stew and be warm head to toe. We enjoyed ours with a green salad. Delish!