DUNGENESS CRAB COBBLER
Serves 6 to 8
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup carrot, diced or cut into rounds or half-rounds
4 cups crab stock or chicken stock
2 cups potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 or 3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 1/2 pounds Dungeness crab meat, picked over for any remaining shells
Salt, white pepper to taste
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into pats
1 1/2 cups cream
For the dough: In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work butter into dry ingredients. Pour in cream and stir just to combine. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle, roughly 6 inches by 9 inches. Fold one short side of the rectangle a third of the way over the dough, then fold the opposite side over, as if you were folding a piece of paper to put in an envelope. Refrigerate 30 minutes, then pat dough out into a rectangle again and do the same folds a second time. Pat or roll dough 1/2-inch thick; cut into desired shapes.
While the dough is chilling, make a roux by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to let it brown. Whisk in flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until mixture is smooth and beginning to turn golden and smell somewhat nutty. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and let it cook for several minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften but not brown. Cover with the stock and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes, parsnips and herbs, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add crab. Whisk in reserved roux and cook until the stew has the desired consistency and the potatoes are done. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Ladle stew into individual ovenproof serving dishes. Top each with the cutout cobbler dough. Bake until tops are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
– Chef Nicholas Petti, Mendo Bistro, Fort Bragg