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Harvest delight: Tomatoes in a cheese-biscuit cobbler

Recipe: Onions, garlic add to this summer side dish

Yes, there are tomatoes under that cheesy biscuit topping. This cobbler is one recipe worth turning the oven on for.

Yes, there are tomatoes under that cheesy biscuit topping. This cobbler is one recipe worth turning the oven on for.

Kathy Morrison

Five various tomatoes
Only the bottom left tomato needed peeling.

Cobbler is a summer thing, and this tomato-packed cobbler is about as summery as you can get.

Given to me by a dear friend, the recipe first appeared in Martha Stewart Living magazine, but I've tweaked it over the years, changing the tomatoes, the cheese and a few other things. Instead of several pounds of cherry tomatoes, my version uses mostly slicing and heirloom tomatoes, along with a few sauce tomatoes for thickening. I like Cheddar cheese in this, but Gruyere or Monterey jack works also.

I wait to make the cobbler until I have a good variety of tomatoes and then try to find a day when it's not too hot, because the oven has to be on for nearly an hour. However, it's worth it, believe me.

Recently I also cut down the serving size, because the first version makes too much for two people. If you'd like to check out Martha's original, which serves 6 to 8, find it here.

Tomato cobbler with cheese biscuit topping

Serves 4-6


1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped or slivered 

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 to 4-1/2 cups cored and quartered tomatoes (any combination of heirloom, slicing, paste or halved cherry tomatoes), some seeds removed,  only thick skins peeled

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Tomato mixture in casserole dish
Tomato-onion mixture ready for topping


1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2/3 cup shredded cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top

1 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing on topping


Prepare a 2-quart casserole by lightly coating it with butter or oil spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onions and cook until they are soft and starting to turn brown, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and a grind or two of black pepper, and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Let cool.

In a large bowl (or in the pan if it's big enough), toss the onion mixture, the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons flour and the red pepper flakes. Scrape the filling into the prepared casserole and set aside while you make the topping.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, or rub in with your fingers, until small clumps form. Stir in the 2/3 cup shredded cheese, then add the 1 cup buttermilk, stirring with a fork or spatula until a dough forms. (It'll be sticky.)

Cobbler with circle of raw dough ready to bake

Use a large spoon to place mounds of biscuit dough on top of the tomato mixture around the edge of the casserole dish, leaving the center open -- see photo at right. (If you have too much dough for your dish, the extra can be baked as drop biscuits.)

Brush the biscuit dough with additional buttermilk, then sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the tomatoes are bubbling, 45-50 minutes.

Let the casserole cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before serving.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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