Thursday, November 3, 2011

Winter Root Vegetable Stew with Cobbler Dumplings

If the weather forecast can be believed, we've got some cold days and colder nights headed our way, which makes me think of making this recipe. It's Thursday so I'm headed to the North Park farmers market to hit up Suzie's Farm, J.R. Organics, Smit's, and Spring Hill Cheese.

2 tablespoons oil (I like olive) or butter
2 cups (about ½ pound) leeks (or onions), julienned
1 fennel bulb, chopped (about 1½ cups)
3 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
¼ pound fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped (I like cremini)
1 ½ pounds (3-4 cups) root vegetables, chopped (I like Yukon potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and maybe a turnip or rutabaga)
4-5 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp fresh parsley, stemmed & minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, stemmed & minced
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Prep the veggies: trim dark green parts (keep for stock) from the leeks, score leeks lengthwise, then cut the leeks into pieces about 1 inch in length; wash thoroughly and drain. Chop fennel & veggies into about ¼-½ inch cubes (keep roots end, fennel fronds and stalks for stock). Roughly chop mushrooms (save stems for stock).

2. Make the stock.
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, chopped
any vegetable scraps
1 bay leaf
3 fresh sage leaves
2 springs fresh parsley
2 springs fresh thyme

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil on high heat, add the onion, garlic, carrot, and vegetable scraps (tops, peels, stems, ugly or tough parts. Nothing rotten or dirty. No onion skin, garlic skin, nor stinky veggies such as turnips or rutabagas), stirring occasionally until you see some caramelization. Cover completely with water, about 6 cups, add herbs and bring to a boil, add ½ tsp sea salt and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain out the vegetable pieces.

3. Make the cobbler dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
8 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces (6 if you add cheese)
1 cup milk
½ cup grated cheese (cheddar, gruyere, parmesan…), optional
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (chives, parsley, thyme, sage…)

In a medium bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Work the butter into the flour mixture with your finger tips, until the texture is crumbly.  Stir in the milk until well combined, then mix in the cheese and herbs.  Set aside.

4. Make the stew: in a deep, wide skillet, melt butter or heat oil on high, add leeks, fennel, mushroom, thyme, and garlic, stirring frequently, and cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid and start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped winter veggies; cover completely with stock and season with a bit of salt. Bring to a boil and stir in the parsley.  Drop large spoonfuls of the cobbler dough on top of the stew; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt & pepper after portioning stew and cobbler into bowls for serving.

Serves 6


  • Instead of or in addition to roots, use other vegetables as the season provides: winter or summer squash, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas...
  • Make a gluten-free version by eliminating the cobbler topping or adapt this recipe for shepard's pie

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