August 8, 2014

Recipe: Savory Tomato & Sausage Cobbler

I'd like to say the transition from Seattlite to New Yorker has been a seamless one, but that would be a lie. I'm a creature of habit who finds comfort in well-worn routines, so you can imagine that a near-spontaneous move across the country is a challenging endeavor for me. One of the biggest challenges so far? Getting comfortable in our apartment's bite-sized kitchen.

I should clarify that I really love our apartment. I love the location, the 1920s character, the exceedingly wonderful doormen who bring you Venezuelan corn flour from Queens when you can't find it anywhere. I love that my sectional sofa fit through the door without having to saw it in half (PIVOT!!!). But 550 square feet only goes so far. Our apartment's layout gives the vast majority of that square footage to its generously-sized living room and bedroom… leaving a measly 30 square feet for the kitchen.

To be fair, the kitchen fits a lot into those 30 square feet. My favorite feature? A small-but-mighty 17-inch-wide dishwasher. It is magnificent and saves my sanity. The very sanity that is continually tested by my least favorite kitchen feature: the 20-inch electric stove. Fun fact about me: I've never had a gas range. Always wanted one, never had one. So the electric-ness of the stove is not the unbearable portion of the appliance. I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is burners that technically work - they turn on - but provide no consistency in temperature whatsoever. Level 2 can either burn your food to a crisp or leave it woefully pale, depending on the day. Recipe testing has become a comedy of errors; cooking dinner is fraught with profanity and frequently ends with takeout. I've become more fond of baking than ever, as the oven itself is blissfully accurate (save for a non-functioning broiler). It's been a journey, to say the least.

I trust that with time, I'll master cooking out of my new kitchen. Until then, I'm relying on forgiving, simple recipes, like this Savory Tomato & Sausage Cobbler. A savory cobbler is essentially a twist on pot pie, with a saucy, vegetable-laden base tucked under a golden crust. This version, which I developed for Field Roast, features vegetarian Italian sausage, juicy pops of tiny summer tomatoes, and sweet caramelized onions. Taking inspiration from the Italian-style filling, slices of store-bought prepared polenta are a simple stand-in for cobbler's traditional biscuit topping. It's summer comfort food perfect for the height of tomato season.

Savory Tomato & Sausage Cobbler
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion,  halved and thinly sliced
1 package FieldRoast Italian Sausages, crumbled into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/4 cups water
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, well-rinsed
1 (18 ounce) package of prepared polenta, cut into 12 round slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large skillet over medium/just-above-medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once oil is hot, add sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until onions are coated evenly, then stir in the crumbled sausage. Stir in water, scraping bottom of pan to loosen all of the caramelized brown bits. Cook briefly until filling is slightly reduced and saucy, then remove from heat. Add salt and/or pepper to taste, then fold in tomatoes and transfer filling to an 8-inch square baking dish.

Cover dish loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and discard foil. Arrange polenta slices on top of filling (slight overlapping is fine) and brush slices with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Return cobbler to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until filling is bubbling and polenta slices are golden (If a deeper golden crust is desired, you can broil the cobbler for the final few minutes). Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

I am thrilled to be working with Field Roast as a "Cooks in the Field" recipe developer, but this post is NOT sponsored or commissioned in any way. In accordance with FTC guidelines, any and all sponsored content will be clearly disclosed as such.

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