Spicy Beef Cobbler

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Sometimes I cook something just because I am longing for the season a particular dish suggests. It has been so hot and humid in recent weeks  that it feels as if fall will never arrive here in San Diego. I know this is magical thinking, but I made this spicy beef cobbler just in hopes of giving fall’s arrival a nudge.

I was leafing through a folder of recipes marked “Cold Weather Cooking” and stumbled on this from an old Gourmet. The cobbler is a twist on our favorite sloppy joes and comes with a cornbread topping. You could easily substitute ground turkey for the beef, but I used ground sirloin.

Use a nice sharp cheddar here and adjust the spice level to your liking. I add the hot sauce on the side here at our house and don’t mention the cayenne to my husband, who is definitely not a fan of “heat” in food.

Spicy Beef Cobbler
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A twist on traditional sloppy joes, this spicy beef is topped with a cornbread "cobbler".
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground sirloin, 90% lean
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or harissa sauce (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 can (14-15-ounce) no-salt tomatoes
  • ⅔ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ⅓ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated sharp cheddar
  • flat-leaved parsley (optional garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a 9½-inch glass pie plate.
  3. Using a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and cook the onion over moderate heat until it becomes limp, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the Sriracha, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, ground ginger and crystallized ginger, pepper and ¼ teaspoon of the salt.Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Cook over medium-low heat until juices reduce to ¼ cup, about 10 minutes.
  6. While the beef simmers, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil with the milk and egg. Add the cornmeal and stir just until moistened. Add ½ cup grated cheddar.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the beef into the greased pie plate. Skim any fat off the remaining juices before pouring over beef.
  8. Spoon the cornbread batter over the beef in 4 equal portions. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of cheddar.
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the cornbread. Garnish with parsley and serve.



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21 Responses to Spicy Beef Cobbler

  1. Mare October 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    It feels like fall has arrived in the Napa Valley…there is a little chill in the weather. This is perfect!!

    • Liz October 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      It is still warm here during the day, Mare, but the late afternoons feel like fall – at last.

  2. The Wimpy Vegetarian October 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Fall has arrived here too – so I’m sure it’s on the way to your end of the State. What a wonderful combination of flavors here, Liz, from crystallized ginger to Sriracha – which you might not want to mention to Larry either 🙂

    • Liz October 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      It is SO much cooler. Offering Larry a second glass of wine before I reheat the cobbler 😉

  3. Margaret October 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Sloppy joes in a ‘pie’. What a great idea

  4. Chris October 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    It looks so tempting, after all cheese is involved. At first I was a bit put off when I saw the ingredients list, but after looking at it, I thought, it’s not so hard after all.
    As to the weather … often it seems you want to have what you don’t have (sort of). I wouldn’t mind a bit more temperature. It’s already getting too cold for me here and it is just Autumn.

    • Liz October 8, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      Play with the spices to your liking –

  5. Wendy Read October 8, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Glorious combo Liz! Great photo too, love the idea of the cornbread topping too. I want to try this for my meat loving husband 🙂 I like the look of your recipe plug in too…something new??

    • Liz October 8, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      I have been using the Easy Recipe lug-in since Andrew of blog tutor installed it for me in June. I love it and don’t miss the old html stuff…Makes it easy for folks to print. Thanks, Wendy.

  6. Oui, Chef October 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Love the idea of a savory cobbler, and this one looks super tasty.

    • Liz October 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Thanks, Steve, and your avocado soup is up for my writers’ group tomorrow – thanks also for the suggestion to prep ahead and blend last minute.

  7. Elizabeth October 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    I love the idea of this dish. I love that I could make it up in the am and stick in the oven when I want to eat. This looks like the perfect meal before going trick-or-treating this year. Always inspiring.

  8. Lynda - TasteFood October 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    What a great idea – finally it’s cooling off and we can enjoy a comforting meal like this!

    • Liz October 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Cooling off here – so my magical thinking worked 😉

  9. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl October 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Now this is my kind of cobbler!!! Love the ginger and corn meal. YUM!

    • Liz October 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks, Liz –

  10. Beth (OMG! Yummy) October 9, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Great photo Liz and what a terrific idea. I think my kids would love this. And I love the idea of a savory cobbler. It reminds me a bit of a shepherd’s pie! And good for you going through those old recipes 🙂

    • Liz October 9, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      Perhaps now is the time to admit I forgot to add the flour, so that is why the cornbread topping is so flat…sigh.

  11. Jenny (vintagesugarcube) October 10, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Liz- I couldn’t agree more! By last weekend, I had enough of the heat. Ugg. Sooo happy it’s finally cooling down a bit. That cobbler is going on my ‘must make soon’ list. The spice combo sounds scrumptious! 🙂

    • Liz October 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      Finally cooler, Jenny – hope you try the recipe.

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