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Tomato Cobbler Using Cornmeal and Herbs

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I’ve been playing with my new Tomato Cobbler recipe. Just for you. It’s been a hardship; I want you to know that.

KIDDING! I love this stuff! It will take me a long time to get tired of Tomato Cobbler. I have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have to say it is good any hour of the day.

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Tomato Cobbler has probably been around for many decades. There are plenty of recipes for tomato cobblers out there in the interwebs, but I didn’t know that when I started dreaming up what my version would be like. It turns out that many people can dream up the same idea, but of course with a recipe it’s the little things that make a difference! 

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I wanted mine rich with cornmeal and butter for the topping. A tomato base full of flavor and texture. Not soupy, but soft; and it couldn’t taste like spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce. I achieved my vision!

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Feel free to play with this version to make it your own. But I think it is Juuuuust Right!

Gail's Tomato Cobbler
Savory roasted tomatoes covered by an herb- and cornmeal-laced biscuit topping.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c. - 2 c. chopped onion (1 large)
  2. 2 tsp. minced garlic
  3. 1 Tbsp each olive oil and butter
  4. 4 c. fresh tomatoes cut into 2" chunks (measure after cutting)
  5. 5 - 6 c. cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes or the like
  6. salt and pepper
  7. herb mixture (below) -- reserve 1/2 tsp. for the cormeal topping
  8. 1 tsp. salt
  9. 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. cold water
  10. 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
Topping
  1. 2/3 c. cornmeal
  2. 1 1/3 c. flour
  3. 2 tsp. baking powder
  4. 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. 1/4 tsp. black pepper (optional)
  7. 1/2 tsp. herb mixture (below)
  8. 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed by hand or in a mortar and pestle
  9. 6 oz. cold salted butter, sliced thin
  10. 3/4 c. buttermilk plus 2 Tbsp. water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Measure out topping ingredients ahead of time if desired.
  2. Add oil and butter to large skillet preheated to medium heat. When butter finishes foaming, add onions. Stir occasionally until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an addtional 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in chunks of large tomatoes and 1 tsp. of the herb mixture; salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tomato is soft and mixture starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Stir in cherry tomatoes, the 1 tsp. salt and all but the reserved portion of the herb mixture and heat through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cornstarch/water mixture.
  4. Pour tomato mixture into buttered 9"x13" (3 quart) casserole. Place in 375F oven for 10-15 minutes while you make the biscuit topping.
  5. Remove pan from oven, place small spoonsful of biscuit dough over tomatoes. Return to oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until biscuit topping is golden brown and is done in the center.
Topping
  1. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, herbs, salt, and optional pepper. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fingers until butter particles are smaller than peas but larger than rice. Quickly but thoroughly stir in buttermilk plus the water. Immediately spoon over hot casserole and return to oven as directed above.
  2. Herb mixture: 1 generous tsp. dried parsley, 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1/4 tsp. dried oregano.
Notes
  1. Use glass or ceramic, not metal pans.
  2. If you prefer a less-heavy topping, swap out some of the cormeal for flour.
  3. The 1 tsp. salt added along with the cherry tomatoes are needed for the final flavor after the tomatoes split open during the baking.
  4. To use an 11" x 7" (2 quart) baking dish, use 2/3 of the recipe. I also have used the whole batch to make an 11" x 7" and also a tiny 7" x 4.5" pair of casseroles. The cherry tomatoes should almost fill the pan in a single layer, with spaces, but the softer part of the filling will only come about halfway up the cherry tomatoes.
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The funny thing about this is that Sam’s brother-in-law made a joke during her peach + tomato adventures this summer about tomato cobbler. Whether he knew it was a real thing or made it up, I don’t really know. But Kyle, thanks for the seed of inspiration!

Happy baking!

Gail

PS My hubby is of the opinion, after having this a couple times, that there needs to be more tomato, less biscuit (we can all have our opinions!) You could definitely put all the tomatoes in an 11×7 (2 quart) dish and use half the biscuit recipe. Or anywhere in between — get creative :) 

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