Here’s something a little different to make with asparagus: a savory cobbler! This particular one starred mushrooms, leeks and asparagus in a white wine cream sauce, topped with golden biscuits. Yum-my! My inspirations were a tomato and corn cobbler from Joy the Baker I have been meaning to make (really need to get around to that!) and the creamy, delicious hug in a dish of a well-made chicken pot pie. I took elements I liked from each of those dishes and created something new that is quite pleasing. I added bacon because I thought the veggies would need some oomph, but in the future will go vegetarian– the saltiness of the bacon overpowered the delicate taste of the vegetables a little too much for my taste, though my husband was a fan. You choose either way and I promise a flavorful, decadent, home-style meal. I was even happier with it the next day, when the ingredients had had sometime to get cozy, and cozy is the perfect adjective for the dish as a whole– a late spring comfort meal if I’ve ever made one. Enjoy!
Savory Asparagus Cobbler
- 3 slices of bacon (optional)
- 3 leeks, white & light green parts only, sliced
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 lb. asparagus, washed and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 c. sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 c. white wine (or chicken or veggie stock)
- 2 c. whole milk
- 1 T. cornstarch
- salt & pepper
- 2 T. butter
For the biscuits: (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)
- 1 3/4 c. sifted flour
- 3 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 5 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 c. milk
Make up your biscuits first. To a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until well combined. Using a pastry blender, two forks or two knives, cut in the cold butter until you have small, pea-sized (or smaller) bits of butter covered in flour. Do not let the butter melt, so work quickly. Make a well in the center and add the milk all at once; stir dry ingredients into the milk until you have a sticky, wet dough that is starting to ball up. Pause here while you make the vegetable base.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large, ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until it is crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon to a plate and remove all but 2 T. of bacon grease from the pan. If you don’t have 2 T., add olive oil or butter to make up the difference. If you’re not using bacon, start with 2 T. olive oil or butter.
Add the leeks to the pan and cook for 2-3 mins. over medium heat; add the mushrooms and continue to cook for another 2-3 mins. Add the thyme to the pan and stir, then add the asparagus and cook for about 5 mins. The asparagus should be crisp-tender, not cooked through. Add the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any good, brown, flavorful bits and allow the alcohol to cook off for about 2 mins.
While the vegetables cook, stir the cornstarch into 1/4 c. of the cold milk until you have a smooth slurry. Whisk in the rest of the milk. After the wine has reduced a bit, add the milk mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. As soon as the sauce starts to bubble, remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt & pepper and add the cooked bacon back in, if using. Dot the top of the vegetables with generous scoops of biscuit dough, 5-6 around the edge and 1 in the middle, with room between them if possible (this allows them to cook a little faster); dot the top of each biscuit with butter. Carefully transfer the pan, uncovered, into your preheated oven and bake for 20-25 mins. The sauce will continue to thicken and the biscuits will brown; the cobbler is done when the biscuits are cooked through, though they will be slightly wet or doughy on the bottom because of the sauce. Serve the cobbler immediately.