Bacon and Tomato Cobbler


This recipe is for a good hearty meal which we all enjoy.  It is taken from the Good Food Magazine BBC Book: 101 Cheap Eats, though I add an extra tin of butterbeans so it fills my hungry family.

Ingredients (makes enough for 6)

For  the casserole part of the cobbler

  • 12 rashers streaky bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, medium sliced
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml chicken stock (I take a cube and water)
  • 2 cans butter beans
  • Oil for cooking

Cobbler topping

85g butter/margarine
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
175ml milk

When I am packing these ingredients to take to the woods, I choose a large lunch box that will also act as a mixing bowl when I am making the cobbler topping.  Then:

  1. Put the flour and margarine into the lunch box.
  2. Rub the margarine into the flour.
  3. Add the dried herbs.

Pop the lid on the box, and pack the other ingredients separately.  It is useful to prepare these in the following way.

  1. Cut three rashers of bacon into small pieces.
  2. Cut the remaining nine rashers into three or four pieces each.
  3. Chop the onion.
  4. Chop the celery.

Kit list

  • Lunch box with flour mix.
  • Other ingredients packed separately.
  • Tin opener if you have tinned butter beans.
  • 2 wooden spoons.
  • Large metal spoon.
  • 4 litre / 25cm dutch oven.
  • Tripod or other method of holding dutch oven and kettle over the fire.
  • Kettle (if you want to make hot stock – you can use cold water, it just takes longer).
  • Plates.
  • Cutlery.
  • Fire tongs.
  • Measuring jug (to measure the 150ml water for stock).
  • Dutch oven lid lifter and stand.
  • Heatproof gloves.

When you are outdoors ready to cook:

  1. Light your fire
  2. Set up your tripod and use your kettle to heat water.  This step is not necessary – cold water can be added with the stock cube, – but it speeds things up if you use hot water.  And there’s the added potential of a hot cup of tea somewhere along the way…
  3. Once the kettle’s boiled, swap it for the dutch oven.
  4. Heat the oil in the oven and fry the onion till it looks soft.  Use the first wooden spoon to stir.
  5. Add the bacon and cook for about five minutes.
  6. Add the celery and cook for a further three or four minutes.
  7. Add the tin of tomatoes, and the stock.
  8. Put the lid on the dutch oven and allow to simmer while dealing with the cobbler topping.
  9. Add the milk to the flour mix in the lunch box and mix well using your second wooden spoon.  The mixture will look more gloopy than usual scone mix.
  10. Carefully remove the lid from the dutch oven.  Stir the contents.
  11. Using the wooden spoon pick up bits of the cobbler mixture and scrape them off with your metal spoon onto the top of the butterbean and tomato base in the dutch oven.  Spread the spoonfuls of cobbler mix evenly – they will expand to fill the gaps as they cook.
  12. This is the bit I always forget… Sprinkle the small bacon pieces over the cobbler mix.
  13. Replace the lid of the dutch oven and using the fire tongs place embers on the lid of the dutch oven.
  14. Every 15 minutes, I rotate the base of the dutch oven a quarter turn one way, then the lid a quarter turn the other.  I adjust the embers on the lid depending on how the cooking is going.
  15. When the cobbler looks golden, push a knife into the cobbler top to make sure the topping is cooked through and then serve.