Monday, November 23, 2009

Collard Green Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit Top

By now it's old news that the big man loves bitter greens, what probably isn't as obvious is the effort I make to find new and interesting ways to cook them. While cruising along the internet "tubes" I happened upon a recipe for collard green cobbler -- there's something I hadn't considered.
Of course, there's always room for improvement.
The recipe just didn't seem to do justice to the cornmeal biscuits. So I started out on my own. First I stewed the collards the way I usually do, fatback bacon (in this case the rind from Jamon Serrano at last year's Christmas party, chicken broth, dried red peppers, and sliced onion all stewed together until the collards are tender.
I can't exactly say I was down home on the biscuit topping. I just don't like to cut in butter -- a couple years ago His Highness bought me a beautiful Cusinart as a gift and it has freed me from the kitchen tyranny of pastry blenders and double knives. Now I just toss the flour, salt and baking powder (1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 TB baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt) into the food processor and pulse to mix. In goes 4 TB of butter and I pulse machine again until the butter is cut into coarse grains. Next comes 1/2 cup of milk and I mix until just blended. Lay the dough out on a cutting board, knead few times, pat out to about 1 1/2 inches thick and cut out 3 inch rounds. I like to let the biscuits rest in the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking (that's the great make ahead part -- wrapped up you could probably even do them the night before).
When James was ready for dinner I placed the biscuits on top of the collards in the pot and popped the dish (uncovered) into the oven at 450ยบ for about 20 minutes until the biscuits are brown and the collards are bubbling.
Next time I think I'll brush those biscuits with a little melted butter. They might even find a way -- without the collards -- to our Thanksgiving table.

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