Cobblers have a long and varied history. In Britain they came into their own in World War 2.
There are American Cobblers, British Cobblers, Savoury Cobblers and Sweet Cobblers. All sorts of Cobblers.
According to Wikipedia :
‘The origin of the name cobbler is uncertain, although it may be related to the now archaic word cobeler, meaning “wooden bowl”.
It may also refer to the placing of the biscuits on top of the filling in such a way as to resemble the cobble-stones on the surface of a cobble-stone street.’
In my mind, it’s also suggestive of cobbling something together……
Cobblers are all about making a little bit of something go a long, long way.
Herbs and spices often fulfil a similar role.
Taking ordinary everyday ingredients and adding a combination of herbs and spices can bring the simplest dish alive.
Frugality was normal back in the 1940’s, and it still is now, for many thousands, no, millions, of people.
This is my vegan take on a dish that my mother used to make, and her mother before her.
A British Cobbler usually uses a scone dough for the topping, which excels at soaking up all those lovely vegetable juices….
Below, is my recipe for a Herbed Vegan Savoury Vegetable Cobbler, using seasonable vegetables and herbs.
This recipe uses mixed herbs. Just a word for Rosemary: Leeks, Potatoes and Rosemary are a wonderful match, so if you can use Rosemary as part of your dried herb mix, it will add a little magic.
Herbed Vegan Savoury Vegetable Cobbler
For the filling:
- 2-3tbs. olive oil
- 1 Large Potato
- 1 Large Carrot
- 1 Large Leek
- 1 Large Onion
- 150gms. Mushrooms
- I small tin (160gms.) sweetcorn
- 200 gms. cooked beans ( tinned or frozen) A hearty bean is good: e.g. kidney beans or butter beans.
- 1tsp salt.
- 1-2 tsp. of coarse ground Black Pepper
- 500ml. strong vegetable stock
- 3-4 tbs. Dried mixed herbs: Rosemary, Winter Savoury, Parsley.
- 1- 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
For the Dough:
- 225gms. Self-Raising Flour
- 25 gms. vegan spread: e.g. sunflower spread
- 1tsp. Baking Powder
- 175ml non-dairy milk ( I used Oat Milk)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbs. Mixed Dried Herbs : Thyme, Parsley
- Wash, peel and roughly dice the potato and the carrot.
- Wash and slice the leek into rings.
- Peel and roughly chop the onion.
- Slice the mushrooms.
- In a hob-proof casserole dish add 2 tbs. oil.
- Heat on a medium heat.
- Add onions and mushrooms. Fry 5 mins.
- Add diced potato and carrots and sliced leeks. Fry 3 mins.
- Add sweetcorn. Fry 2 mins.
- Add 3-4 tbs. dried mixed herbs. Fry on low heat – 2 mins.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Add 1-2 tbs. flour, and stir in so the vegetables become coated. Warm through 2 mins.
Make vegetable stock: using half as much again stock powder as the instructions advise: e.g. I used reduced-salt Bouillon which says use 2 tsps. per 500ml water, so I used 3 tsps. for 500 ml.water.
- Pour hot vegetable stock over vegetable mix and stir in, allowing the flour to thicken smoothly. Simmer gently for 2-3 mins.
- Add Cooked Beans. Stir in.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a large deep oven-proof dish.
Prepare the dough:
- Either in a food processor or a deep bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, and Herbs.
- Add the vegan spread and rub in by hand or blitz briefly in the blender using pulse function.
- Slowly add the milk until you have a soft pliable dough.
- Don’t overwork the dough.
- Turn it onto floured board and roll it out gently until it is about 1cm thick. (No less than that)
- Cut out 8-10 circles.
- In a preheated-oven Gas Mk. 7/220C, warm the vegetable mixture for 10 mins.
- Remove from the oven and place the dough circles on the top. Don’t worry about gaps.
- Return to the oven 25-30 mins. Until the top is golden, and the filling juices are bubbling.
- Serve piping hot with fresh steamed greens.
So that’s it. A comforting, homely, deliciously tasty dish, with history!
This is a highly adaptable recipe, using what ever vegetables you may have, and what ever flavours you fancy.