BEAN AND CORNBREAD COBBLER FOR TWO

1.21.2016

“Seriously, what was that I just ate??! Because, ohmygawd, it was incredible.” 

Okay, he didn’t say the “ohmygawd” part, but it was something like that. I mean, are there any better words to come of the mouth of someone who just ate something you made? Who isn’t my husband?


I’m going to back up a little bit. I’ve mentioned here before that I am not a vegan (yup, this right here is a vegan dish). Faaaaaaar from it, in fact, but sometimes I like to make things vegan because it forces me to get creative with flavors aside from the deliciousness of meat and dairy. It’s hard, but when I nail it and win over vegans (the “seriously, what was that I just ate” guy) and non-vegans alike (hubs), I’m a happy cooker.

The origin of this meal is questionable. There was a fridge full of cooked beans and random vegetables and I had just made these biscuits, so I thought I’ll throw them together and see what happens. I’m not the “let’s see what we have and throw it together” kind of cook (I would fail miserably at Quick Fires). G is the master of that. I like things, especially meals, planned. In fact, I like most things in life to be planned.

But sometimes the best things happen when they don’t go as planned. We all know stories of accidental discoveries and recipes are no exception. Some of the most delicious creations were born from mistakes (fudge, saltwater taffy, french fries). 

Over the years, I’ve eased up when things don’t go accordingly. As a result, I’m definitely more easygoing (I once screamed at my roommate for leaving a pair of socks on the living room floor), I have more fun and I’ve had some of the best meals because I’ve just thrown things together on a whim or embraced the flubbed pancake flip.

So anyway, this recipe is one of those happy, unplanned meals that I conveniently tweaked to feed my vegan friends who just had bebe no. deux (aforementioned vegan guy and wife). I firmly believe there should be more savory cobbler dishes. It makes everyone happy. 

Winner winner, no chicken dinner.


BEAN AND CORNBREAD COBBLER FOR TWO
yields 2 - 2 cup ramekins

This recipe can easily be doubled, which is how I originally made it. It will yield a 9x13" pan, but you will need to quadruple the biscuit recipe if you want to have enough biscuits for everyone, which trust me, you will want. Just plop the biscuit topping in 1/4 cup mounds, spaced out semi-evenly over the top of the beans.

For the beans:
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 celery rib, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano (nothing beats Rancho Gordo)
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth, preferably homemade, or low-sodium for store-bought
1-15 oz can of low-sodium kidney beans*
1-2 chipotles in adobo, depending on your spice preference, finely chopped
1 cup loosely packed spinach

For the biscuits:
1/4 cup hemp milk (or any other non-dairy milk you prefer)**
1 tsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/4 cup + 2 Tb (80 g) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs (30 g) fine cornmeal
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
pinch of kosher salt
2 Tbs coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

For the beans:
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the celery, carrot, onion and salt and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened, but not browned.
Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook 1 minute.
Add the oregano and sprinkle the flour over the mixture.
Cook for an additional minute or two to cook off the flour.
Slowly add the broth while stirring, so the flour doesn't clump.
Add the beans and chipotles and bring the mixture to a boil.
Quickly reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until the mixture has thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until it is wilted.
Divide the beans into 2-2 cup ramekins and set aside. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge, tightly wrapped in plastic.

For the biscuits:
Combine the milk and lemon juice and set aside in the fridge.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Combine the melted coconut oil and milk/lemon juice mixture. It should clump up and you want this to happen. If it doesn't, throw it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. Stir to break up the clumps a bit before proceeding. 
Combine the milk mixture and dries. Stir just to combine. The mixture will be wet.
Divide the batter in half and spread over the tops of each of the ramekins.

Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven for 26-28 minutes or until the tops are browned, turning halfway through cooking. Cool for a minute or two before digging in because it's hot!!

* Using dried beans are far superior in this dish. Up until tweaking this recipe I only used Rancho Gordo beans and the difference in taste is crazy. Since most people have canned beans on hand, which is totally fine, I tweaked it for sake of ease. If you choose dried, you will need roughly 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup dried beans. Cook the beans using whichever method you prefer and proceed with the recipe. I've used Rio Zape, Good Mother Stallard, Ayocote Negro and most recently Domingo Rojo (pictured above) and they are all outstanding in this cobbler.

** If you're not vegan or dairy-free, use 1/4 cup buttermilk and omit the lemon juice or 1/4 cup whole milk with the lemon juice.

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