Recipe of the Month – October – Minced Beef Cobbler

The cobbler: A hearty, filling dish that is perfect for Autumn. A filling topped with dumplings (or, in America where the cobbler is common, biscuits, referring to the American unsweetened bread that resembles a scone) and usually served out of its baking dish. The humble cobbler has its origins in the British American colonies, where a lack of suitable ingredients and cookware to create  the much-favoured suet puddings led to the need to improvise. This need to improvise led to covering the traditional stewed filling with a later of plain biscuits/dumplings, often fitted together in a circular shape.

Similar but distinct to crumbles, the cobbler (Believed to derive from the 14th century word cobeler, meaning wooden bowl/dish, or the appearance of a cobblestone) is a hearty dish enjoyed extensively across the United Kingdom and the United States (Where one can find over a hundred varieties and variations on cobbler, from the dump cake using dumpling mix over a stewed filling to the Brown Betty. In the UK, the cobbler enjoyed popularity through the wartime years, where it was promoted by the Ministry of Food due to being able to be made with margarine and being a hearty dish that makes a lot of a few ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 500g pack extra-lean beef mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 140g mushrooms, halved
  • 500ml beef stock
  • few shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 125g plain flour
  • 25g sunflower margarine
  • 1 heaped tablespoon baking powder
  • 25ml milk
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees (fan)/Gas Mark 6 .
  2. Dry-fry the mince and onion in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Stir frequently to break up the mince, until well browned. Add the mushrooms and plain flour, followed by the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer, then gently cook for 10 mins.
  3. Make the cobbler by sifting the flour, thyme and baking powder into a bowl and rubbing in the margarine, or blitz in a mini processor. Add the milk and stir with a knife until a dough is formed.
  4. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into rounds.
  5. Stir the peas into the mince mixture, then transfer to a baking dish. Randomly place the cobbles on top of the mince to cover the filling, then bake for 20-25 mins, until cobbles are risen and golden brown.

Tips

Add any herbs you’d like to the cobbler to add a dynamic touch of flavour. You can even add cheese (or top the cobbler with cheese) if you wish to add something extra to the cobbler.