Chunky vegetables in a rich, fragrant tomato sauce, are topped with
fluffy cheese & herb scones to create a delicious savoury cobbler.
This weather is starting to get me down. Every time I think it’s getting warmer and Spring is springing, the temperatures plummet again and the torrential rain starts up, and my spirits sink. As I type this, I can see the soggy contents of a leaden sky being deposited outside. Oh, how I wish I could hide away until Summer starts in earnest.
Still, even the greyest of rain clouds has a silver lining, and in this case it’s the excuse to make hearty, delicious comfort-food dishes that ‘stick to your ribs’ as my Grandma would say. Dishes that fill the house with gorgeous rich smells, that entice family members into the kitchen, and that create an uplifting moment of aaaaaah as they reach the table in all their glory.
The wonderful aromas of this butternut squash and mushroom cobbler cooking were enough to draw my daughter Kipper to the kitchen table to do her homework, and ultimately, to distract her from doing it. She was pretty cross that I took it away to photograph it before she could eat some, too. The trials and tribulations of living with a food blogger!
When it’s scone, it’s scone…
Cobbler is one of my very favourite comfort-food dinners, combining a rich, chunky vegetable stew with a fluffy, cheesy scone topping. The topping is actually somewhere between a scone and a dumpling – light, fluffy, and the perfect thing for soaking up the delicious sauce. They get both steamed and baked as the cobbler cooks in the oven, so develop a crusty golden top, a light-textured, softly crumbly interior, and what can only be described as a soggy bottom – the best bit! – squidgy and succulent from soaking up the sauce.
Easy peasy hot and cheesy!
Although it might look complicated, this butternut squash and mushroom cobbler is actually very straightforward to make, and only takes one pot. You get the vegetable mixture on to cook, and make the cheesy scone topping while it bubbles away gently on the stove. Then simply arrange the scones on top, sprinkle on some more cheese, and pop it into a hot oven for 15 minutes while you have a quick tidy up (and a sit down). By the time dinner is served your family has gathered round the table and you’re ready to bask in their admiration as you serve up a wonderful comforting meal.
This recipe makes four servings of cobbler, and since there are only three of us, I got the extra portion for my lunch the next day. It lifted my spirits both times!
What a load of cobblers…!
You can easily make this delicious vegetarian cobbler vegan (dairy-free) by making simple substitutions for milk, butter and cheese – see the recipe below!
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Butternut squash and mushroom cobbler
- 1 medium onion
- 1 leek
- 2 sticks celery
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms (approx 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp flour
- 200 ml hot vegetable stock (scant 1 cup)
- 100 ml milk (or non-dairy alternative) (scant 1/2 cup)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- salt and pepper to taste
For the scone topping
- 225 g self-raising flour (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp herbs de Provence (or mixed herbs)
- Salt and pepper to your preference
- 50 g butter (or non-dairy margarine) (approx 1/2 stick or 1/4 cup)
- 75 g grated cheese (or vegan alternative) (3/4 cup)
- 150 ml milk (or non-dairy alternative) (2/3 cup)
- Peel and dice the onion. Trim and wash the leek and cut into 5-7mm slices. Scrub the celery and remove any tough 'strings' then slice into 5mm slices. Clean any dirt off the mushrooms and cut into halves or quarters. Peel the squash and remove the seeds, then cut the flesh into 1.5-2cm chunks.
- Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or similar pan. Cook the onion, leek and celery over a medium heat for a few minutes until starting to soften, then add the mushrooms and squash and mix well.
- Saute the vegetables for a few more minutes, then add the spices and mix well. Cook a further minute, then add the flour and mix well to coat the vegetables. Pour in the stock and milk, and add the tomato puree. Mix well to create a thick sauce. Reduce the heat, cover, and leave to simmer while you make the scones.
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
- Mix the flour, baking powder, herbs and salt & pepper, then rub in the butter (or margarine) to give fine crumbs - you can do this in the food processor or by hand.
- Mix in 50g of the grated cheese, then add the milk and mix lightly (or pulse in the food processor) just until a soft dough is formed.
- Tip the scone dough onto a well-floured surface and with floured hands pat it int a circle about 1.5-2cm thick, and a little smaller than the size of your pan. Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 8 wedges.
- Remove the pan from the stove, take off the lid, and give everything a good stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Arrange the scone wedges over the vegetable mixture and sprinkle over the remaining 25g of grated cheese.
- Transfer to the oven and bake at 200C (400F) for 12-15 minutes until the scones are risen and golden and the sauce is bubbling up at the side.Serve piping hot!