In his new book “The Harvest Baker” (Storey Publishing, $19.95), Ken Haedrich shares a recipe for the everything biscuit, a cornmeal buttermilk biscuit with spinach and all the spices you’d find in an everything bagel. He suggests serving these with tomato-based soups, creamy chowders and even scrambled or poached eggs.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus extra for buttering parchment paper
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
7 to 8 cups (about 6 ounces) loosely packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, trimmed, peeled and grated
Salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for glaze
Sesame or poppy seeds, for sprinkling
Sift the flour, cornmeal, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and vegetable shortening. Start by rubbing the fat into the flour, to break up the fat, and then switch to a pastry blender and continue to cut the fat into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with split pea-size pieces of fat. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Heat the oil in a large skillet, and add the onion. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes over moderate heat, and then stir in the spinach and carrot. Add a bit of salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are completely wilted and any moisture in the pan has cooked off. Stir in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, and remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the vegetables to a plate, and cool thoroughly.
Line a large baking sheet with lightly buttered parchment paper or foil; the butter will help keep the cheese from sticking. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
When the vegetables have cooled, make a well in the biscuit mixture. Add the buttermilk, and stir just until everything is dampened. Add the vegetables and 1 cup of the grated cheese. Stir well, until the dough forms a mass. Allow the dough to rest for 2 or 3 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. With floured hands, knead it gently once or twice — it will feel much denser than your typical biscuit dough. Pat it out to a thickness of 1 inch. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds, and place them about an inch apart on the baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops with some of the glaze, and sprinkle with seeds. Sprinkle the biscuits with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
Bake the biscuits for 18 to 22 minutes; because they’re so dense, and given the moisture in the veggies, they need to bake longer than biscuits typically do. They’ll be a rich golden brown and crusty when done. Either tuck the biscuits into a cloth-lined basket and serve at once or transfer them to a rack and allow to cool. Store leftovers in the fridge. Reheat in a 300-degree oven, wrapped in foil, for about 10 minutes. Makes about 16 biscuits.
— From “The Harvest Baker: 150 Sweet & Savory Recipes Celebrating the Fresh-Picked Flavors of Fruits, Herbs & Vegetables” by Ken Haedrich (Storey Publishing, $19.95)