Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winter Veggie Cobbler (gluten-free)

Gluten-free friends, rejoice! A gluten-free recipe that actually browns beautifully. Okay, so it's not really that exciting for most people, but if you're used to eating GF, then you're also used to things that are slow to brown, or which don't brown at all -- which for bread recipes, can be rather frustrating.

I've had a version of this recipe on my fridge for a while, courtesy of a food co-op, but hadn't gotten around to trying it. I didn't have what I needed. Or I didn't have the time. Or I didn't have the creative energies for making it. Or...well, there were lots of excuses. And that's the thing. There are always excuses about why we should make something simple, or even why we should just go grab food to go, or have it delivered. 

I finally did make it when I had a lazy weekend, and E and I were going to go swimming in the evening after she got off work. I wanted something that would be pretty much ready for us when we got home -- and this can certainly be easily prepared up to a point and then left in the oven for an hour or so and quickly rewarmed, which is exactly what we did. That's nice, really nice, because let's face it, most of us are pretty busy. That being said, this recipe does take a fair amount of prep time before it actually goes in the oven, but it's pretty low-key prep. Chopping, sauteeing, stirring the topping mix. 

Chopped Turnip and Celery Root
I used the winter veggies I had on hand. The original recipe, for instance, called for parsnip (not turnip), among other things, and I suspect the recipe would be fairly forgiving in general of changes. My word of caution with that would be to use caution when thinking about how much you want to include of strongly flavored veggies, such as turnip.

It was a lovely dish to come home to on a day off that had been filled with wandering around town in the pale sunshine of late December. If you're vegan, I imagine this would be pretty easy to convert to a vegan recipe using a vegan margarine or shortening in place of the butter and coconut milk (or another non-dairy milk of your choice) in place of the whole milk in the dumplings. In this case, I'd probably add some lemon juice to create a vegan buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda . 

Because this used red wine, and because we were feeling cozy, E and I mulled wine to go with this dish. Just a suggestion, but it was pretty fantastic.

Winter Veggie Cobbler
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1 ½ cups whole milk or half butter milk and milk
2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs like thyme, marjoram or parsley, finely chopped (I used about a teaspoon dried instead and it worked fine. Who has this many fresh herbs in winter?)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion , chopped
4 large carrots cut into ½ inch rounds then quarters
1 medium size celery root peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium turnip peeled and cut into ½ inch rounds
1/2 medium size sweet potato cut into 1 inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 ½ cups veggie stock or water
2 tablespoons fresh herbs like thyme, marjoram or parsley chopped fine (again, I used dried herbs)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black Pepper

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Make topping first and let rest in the fridge while you make the veggie filling.

Topping: Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add herbs and the milk. Mix very lightly with a spoon until the batter just holds together (it comes out pretty liquidy, so make sure all the lumps are gone). Let rest in the fridge until you make the veggie filling.

Filling: Heat half of the butter and half of the oil in a large sauté skillet. Add the onion, stir for a minute, then all the carrot, celery root, and sweet potato. Brown well on several sides. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the minced garlic. Transfer veggies to a 9x13 baking pan.

Return skillet to high heat and add the tomato paste, toasting until fragrant. Add the wine and veggie stock. Bring to a boil, scraping up all the browned bits in the skillet. Simmer at a lowered heat for a few minutes.

Pour the liquid into the baking pan. Sprinkle with the herbs, sea salt and pepper.

Use a spoon to dot the surface of the vegetables with golf-ball sized dollops of the topping.

Just after removing the foil to bake longer
Cover baking pan with foil and bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove foil, return dish to the oven and bake uncovered until the topping is browned, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Beautifully browned veggie casserole

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