Posted by: Catherine | October 6, 2009

Ratatouille and Sausage Potpie with Cornmeal Biscuits (The Third Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner)

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It was a perfect convergence: The Third Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner was set…and Melissa Clark had an irresistible recipe for Ratatouille and Sausage Potpie with Cornmeal Biscuits in The New York Times just days ahead of the event. I love ratatouille, and sausage, and biscuits–what could be bad? The three danced beautifully together. The eggplant and zucchini are roasted separately before going into the mix of sauteed sausage, red pepper and onion (any vegetable that’s roasted is for me!), and though I’m not a big bread baker I thought I could handle biscuits. They were easy enough, and both the biscuits and the ratatouille/sausage mixture were meant to be made the day before, ready to be assembled and  just popped into the oven for half an hour before serving. Perfect for a crowd! The recipe is supposed to serve six, and indeed would be a perfect one-dish dinner along with a simple green salad, but since we had so many dishes (stay tuned, they’re all a-comin’) I made a dozen small biscuits instead of the six and it worked perfectly as a side dish. I admit to having been a bit distracted by all my friends and their wonderful contributions to the dinner—the biscuits did get a bit burned, but they were crusty and (still) good.

FOR THE CORNMEAL BISCUITS:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cup sour cream or plain whole milk yogurt

Milk

FOR THE RATATOUILLE:

1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1-inch chunks

3 small zucchini ( 3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch chunks

7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 red pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil


1. For the biscuits: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in the sour cream. Gently knead mixture until it comes together in a ball, adding a drop or two of milk if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. For the ratatouille: In a bowl, toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer on one or two large baking sheets (do not crowd vegetables). Transfer to oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep, preferably oven-proof sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Crumble sausage into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.

4. Return pan to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in the onion, pepper, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and thyme sprigs; simmer gently until tomatoes are cooked and mixture is stew-like, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sausage, roasted vegetables and parsley. If you are not using an oven-safe pan, transfer mixture to a 2-quart gratin dish or baking pan.

5. Divide biscuit dough into six equal balls. Use your palm to flatten each ball into a 1/2 -inch-thick disk. Arrange on top of ratatouille mixture. Brush biscuits lightly with milk.

6. Transfer skillet or pan to oven and cook until biscuits are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.


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Responses

  1. As one of the fortunate guests at this dinner, I can’t wait to make this dish for my next party. And the cornmeal biscuits were even better toasty.

  2. Loved it, I’ll be making it soon!

  3. That looks rich and delicious. Love the idea of cornmeal biscuits!

  4. Oh! What a nice dish, love the idea of the biscuit on top of the ratatouille…yummie, a very hearty meal!

  5. I saw that recipe and thought it would be good, so glad to find out it was! Not exactly health food, but I, too, love all the ingredients. I’m at the point where almost everything I cook is roasted.
    Have just been on a jam and jelly making binge, including some quince jelly (beautifully pink) from a tree on the Burgh’s old place on Mt. Tom. It is a bear to make, but pretty and delicious.

  6. I bet they danced together beautifully! The dish is a stunner. :-)

  7. This is a fabulous dish! Wow! I just love the cornmeal biscuits on top, yum!

  8. What a terrific combination of flavours! It has been raining stair rods here for three days solid, so it’s just the kind of cosy thing I crave right now.

  9. I’m not an eggplant fan, but I would totally try that. Looks awesome!

  10. What a delicious combination of ingredients! And you managed biscuits – hooray! Yeast bread is coming…;)

  11. Looks soooooooooooooooooo good.Figtreeapps

  12. Fabulous Fall meal. Looks great.

  13. Hmmm, delicious. RATATOUILLE is my favorite dish ever.

  14. How to make ratatouille even better! With a nice biscuit on top!

  15. Popped in to say hello! This looks like a delightful dinner–how can you go wrong with biscuits and a pot pie!

  16. What a great way to dress up ratatouille! It looks excellent, so comforting!

  17. Both the pot pie and the biscuits sound wonderful. I love the idea of sausage in this. Great combination and it looks so tasty.

  18. I too was fortunate enough to be that dinner, and you have no IDEA how fabulous this was/is/will be. Flavors and textures were every bit as perfect as they looked, and it was just as good the next night (I begged for a small doggie bag). Crunch, munch, swoon.

  19. Wow! this look absolutely tatsy, I love biscuits gloria

  20. Oh man, this looks absurd delicious. Cornmeal? Sausage? that lovely final shot? Ahhh, I want some!

  21. what a unique pot pie! the ingredients in the filling are all awesome, and particularly love that you included sausage. interesting topper, too. comfort in a casserole, that’s for sure!

  22. I love to make dishes using my cast iron pan and going from stove to oven. ALso love the idea of the biscuit topping.


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