Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Biscuits

We set the sprinklers up in the backyard for Matthew to enjoy since it has started to become very hot and muggy during the day. While he enjoyed watching the tall sprays of water move back and forth across the lawn, he barely ventured close enough to allow even a single droplet to land on his silly little head. He even dressed in his Thomas swimming trunks just to dance around clearly out of reach of the water. Emma, whom we did not dress for sprinkler play, decided to show up her scaredy-cat brother by crawling right up to the water source and setting up camp. She did not seem to care when the water would spray her in the face - she wanted to be up close and personal with that sprinkler.

She was soaking wet and a little muddy by the time we pulled her out of there, but there was a huge grin on her face. The sink is the best place to give a little chubby girl a quick bath. She gets a big kick out of letting the water streaming from the faucet soak her toes.

We enjoyed a casual, relaxing weekend just hanging around the house. We have company over the next few weeks, so it was nice to enjoy being together before all the fun and chaos begins. One of the evenings, we enjoyed one of my favorite summertime meals: tomato cobbler. Now, although cobblers are normally made with sugar and a fruit of choice, they can also be savory. After all, an alternative name for "Chicken Pot Pie" could be "Chicken Cobbler."

Of course Emma did not get to enjoy her tomato cobbler because she was so tuckered out from playing in the sprinklers.

This tomato cobbler begins with a savory base of caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, and fresh thyme. The vegetables are allowed to cook on the stovetop before being transferred to a baking pan and topped with gruyere biscuit dough. The entire dish is baked in the oven until the biscuits are golden. Delicious, delicious!

I have changed up the base by using sauteed onions, zucchini, and tomatoes - and both ways are equally delicious. I think any sauteed vegetables with some garlic and fresh herbs would work well. I'm thinking of using a mushroom, squash, and bell pepper filling next time.The biscuit recipe I use is for my favorite buttermilk biscuit, just with the cheese added in. Really, you could just use your favorite go-to biscuit recipe and the results should still be fantastic.

Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Biscuits
adapted from Martha Stewart and Smitten Kitchen

For the Filling:
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
3 pounds grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Buttermilk-Gruyere Biscuits:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture is simmering and the tomatoes are starting to burst. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

To make the biscuits, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Toss in the cheese using your fingertips. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cold buttermilk until the mixture comes together. Reach in with your hands and knead briefly.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into 1/2-3/4 inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut into rounds.

Return the filling to a simmer and then quickly stir in the flour, crushed red pepper, and approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or to taste). Transfer filling to a 2-quart baking dish and top with the biscuit rounds. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned. Serve warm!

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