Spiced Beef Corn Bread Cobbler

January 5th, 2012

Plans do not always work out the way we would like.  I was hoping to have a new blog design finished this week, but jumping from Blogger to Word Press is taking some time.  Added to that, my Son and I are working long distance on the technicalities.  When all of the kinks are worked out, I will launch The new Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen website with a giveaway.  I’m just not sure when it will happen.

Added to that,  I have jumped from a lovely holiday into a dentist’s chair.  Life is kind of uncomfortable right now.  For the next few days soft foods are in order.  I am thinking that I will get out my Cuisinart hand blender and make some tasty smooth soups.

But for those of you who would like a little substance to your meal, this spiced beef corn bread cobbler is an easy, flavorful casserole.  I adapted the recipe from  Gourmet Magazine.   I still miss that magazine and, over the years, have found so many great recipes in it’s pages.  “Think of this dish as a sloppy joe with a corn bread and Cheddar crust” according to the introduction to the recipe.  It has spiced elements from cinnamon, cayenne, allspice and ginger and soothing elements from the corn bread and cheddar.  To me it is comfort food with a twist.

2012 will be a special year for us.  Last year we fulfilled one of David’s wishes to travel to Alaska; he on his motorcycle, and me flying in to meet him.  This year we will fulfill my dream of traveling to Paris and Provence.  We leave for Paris on June 9th.  I decided that I did not want to stay in a hotel, so after a lengthy search on HomeAway and VRBO, I found an apartment in the 7th Arrondissiment near the Eiffel Tower and around the corner from the Rue Cler.  Here is the website if you are interested in a future trip.  The owners are American and have outfitted the apartment to familiar standards.

After a week in Paris we will take the Fast Train to Provence.  We have found an apartment in the market town of  L’Isle Sur La Sorgue.  Every Sunday they host one of the best Antique Markets in Provence.  We will rent a car after leaving the train so that we can explore many Provencal villages and towns.

The kitchen in Provence looks so inviting.  I can hardly wait to shop the markets and cook in this lovely space.  Here is the website.

We originally planned to return home after a week in Provence, but if you recall, we met a wonderful French couple on our motorcycle trip last year.  They were on a year long motorcycle trip through Canada, America and South America.  They stopped and spent a few days with us in Lake Lure.  Read about it here.  They have invited us to stay in their second home in The Loire Valley for a few days.  So after leaving Provence, we will drive back North to spend time with them and then fly home from Paris.  In the meantime we are listening to French CD’s and trying to get our mouths around the language.

I hope you enjoy this simple casserole.  I also hope that I will be up to cooking more interesting things than “thin gruel” this weekend.


1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons, vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef chuck
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (14 to 15 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes in juice
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
2 oz coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly oil a 9 1/2 inch pie plate.

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons oil in a deep 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring 1 minute.  Add beef and cook, breaking up large lumps, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.  (I drained off fat at this point).  Add sugar, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Add tomatoes with juice and briskly simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes.

While beef simmers, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl, then stir milk and beaten egg into cornmeal mixture until just combined.  Fold in 1/2 cup cheese.

Spoon cooked spiced beef into pie plate with a slotted spoon, reserving juices in skillet.  Skim off and discard fat ( if not already discaded) from juices if desired, then pour juices over beef in pie plate.

Spoon 4 mounds of corn bread batter over beef, then sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons cheese over batter.  Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of corn bread comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes.

Printable recipe

15 responses to “Spiced Beef Corn Bread Cobbler”

  1. Sorry to hear about your dental woes….:-(

    I want to go with you on your trip to France! We had so much fun when we went. Rue Cler is a wonderful place to stay in Paris. Hop the Metro, go to the Flea Markets…Monmarte, and more. We had an amazing time there and I know you will too.

  2. Your trip sounds like it is going to be wonderful! I think renting an apartment is the way to go. I can’t wait to see what you cook up in your very own French kitchen!

    The casserole looks delicious! Perfect for a cold night!


  3. Big Dude says:

    Your trip to France sounds like a dream come true and to have met the French couple and get to spend time in their home will surely be a special treat.

  4. Your French trip sounds fabulous Penny and you’ve done a great job of planning and organizing everything. My sympathies about the dentist. I’ve been there more times than I like to remember.

    Switching to WP is a big job and I salute you. Your casserole is perfect for the cold weather. Thanks again for all of your help. You’re the best!

  5. Lorrie says:

    Your trip to France sounds just wonderful. We did almost the same itinerary a few years ago (Paris, then a week in Avignon). What a great time you will have.

    The Chili Cornbread recipe sounds perfect for this rainy January days. I hope your dental woes will soon be over.

  6. Bonnie says:

    I’ve been lax in reading over the holidays so have been catching up on past posts. Your food sounds like it was so good. I’ve been taking recipes and notes and can’t wait to try them. I am envious of your planned trip. We tried to go to Europe a few years ago but all of our plans were de-railed by the Icelandic volcanoe. Trying again this April but your apartment sounds so much better than our tryihng to live out of our suitcases. Can’t wait to see the new blog design.

  7. Barbara says:

    Oh dear! Sorry about the dentist, Penny. I HATE going to the dentist. Better to face it now than to have something crop up during your exciting trip to France!
    My daughter lived there for 6 years and we put together a Word document for friends. If you’re interested, let me know.
    Love all the spices in your beef and cornbread cobbler. Perfect dish for chilly days!
    Happy New Year!

  8. Jann says:

    Whoa…you have a lot going on right now, but more fun coming up this summer! Apartment idea is good-hotels are so expensive and what fun it is to be able to cook while abroad! I tried WP~started,got something going, but have not followed through. Take care!

  9. marcia smith says:

    Penny have a blast in France- one of my top two fav places in the world (Santorini Greece the other) – we loved L’Isle sur la Sorgue – the market and antiques were to die for- I still carry my straw bag I bought there to my local fresh market! Eat Eat and enjoy!!!! BTW so smart to rent a place – I found it so much more fun than a hotel!!!

  10. I can’t wait to see the new layout. I’m a WordPress man too so feel free to let me know if you have any questions. And as for this recipe… well, my boyfriend thanks you in advance for making his evening. And I thank you too, because when I make food this good, I get to pick the movie!!

  11. PS – I am so excited for your trip. I hope you will be doing some blogging so we can live through you. I haven’t been to Paris since 1989. Somewhere there’s a picture of me in front of the Arc de Triomphe. I have a fanny pack and a mullet. I’ll see if I can dig it up for you!

  12. Likewise, so exciting to read about your trip.

    And the new layout. What a challenge, hope all goes as planned. Lucky to have someone who knows what they are doing. I tried once and eventually just through in the towel.

    And love the big people sloppy Joe!


  13. Rita says:

    What great post that I seem to have missed. Afew years ago, my dream was to go to Provence and we went for 2 weeks in March; it was the best.
    We rented a car and stayed in Antibes; you have to go see Aix en Provence; we took the train for that excursion. C’était merveilleux!
    Keep us post; amusez vous.

  14. Robin Sue says:

    Wow! What a wonderful trip you have planned. When we went to German and Austria last summer, we used airbnb.com and stayed in some really fun flats! The people were really nice and we got a better idea of living like the locals! Can’t wait to hear more.

  15. Kat says:

    How exciting! I love that kitchen, so crisp and inviting. I cannot wait to hear all about your trip overseas.

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