Comfort, warmth and coziness--these are the things that fill my mind in the winter. Wool scarves, knitted blankets, hot tea and hot-from-the-oven casseroles all beckon. Although it's not truly winter cold here yet, there is snow in the forecast and it is gray and drizzly and beginning to quickly cool.
Chill enough in the air to make a casserole, I say!
We all really loved this one:
It is mouth-watering. I read the words cheddar and biscuit-dough topping and said Yes, please.
I hurried the prep along with the food processor and had this in the oven within a half hour. I used soysage which is an amazingly delicious and locally made soy sausage that we have long enjoyed. I'm not sure how far their retail reach is, but if you live anywhere near Nashville, you can find it at the Produce Place or at Whole Foods. We re-heated our velvety tomato soup to go alongside--but a simple salad would have been perfect with it.
Cheddar Biscuit Pie (adapted from Martha Stewart Baby Magazine, 2001)
1 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, grated
7 tbsp milk
1 package of Primm Springs Soysage (our favorite) or 1 lb. of any other sausage that you like, crumbled
1 small onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery--all diced or thrown in the food processor with a few quick pulses
1 apple, diced (with skin on)--I used a Fuji apple--but any firm apple will work
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup of vegetable broth (I used water and a veg. bouillon cube)
Preheat oven to 375. Combine 1 cup flour, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl. Using pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until dough resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese and then milk--stir just until combined. Set aside.
Add crumbled soysage to a hot skillet (I like my cast iron skillet for this job) coated generously with olive oil. Stir over medium-high heat until well browned. Remove soysage to a bowl, set aside, and put diced veggies in the hot skillet, cooking until softened over med. heat. Now add apples and seasonings and cook until softened. Add 1 tbsp flour and stir well for 1 minute. Add vegetable broth, stir well and then combine with the soysage. Stir and season to taste.
Pour mixture into an 8x8 baking dish--or something like it (a pie pan, a cast iron skillet) and drop spoonfuls of the dough all across the top--covering as evenly as possible. Bake, uncovered, until crust is golden brown, 20-25 min.
Eat it hot from the oven and see if it doesn't make you feel happy, warm and cozy, too.