The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Paula Deen's Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Frugal Celebrities' Recipes

Sassy Paula Deen, a popular Southern cook on cable TV's Food Network, emphasizes easy-to-make comfort foods. Her success on a cable television cooking show was never planned. Both her parents had died by the time she was 23, and the grief this caused for her prompted a gripping fear of death that developed into chronic agoraphobia, keeping her virtually house-bound for more than a decade.

She was good at Southern-style cooking, so used her talents in the kitchen to help cope with her condition. In 1986, Paula had improved enough from the phobia to accept a job as a bank teller. However, she was robbed at gunpoint the following year, and that frightening experience was traumatic for her. However, it was a blessing in disguise, because she decided to stop being a victim and deal with her agoraphobia head-on.

In 1989, after the family moved to Savannah and she and her husband divorced, she desperately needed to earn an income and had to fight her phobia so that she could support herself and her two little boys, Jamie and Bobby. Paula decided to employ her strong cooking skills and started up a clandestine catering service, The Bag Lady. She made sandwiches and other meals, and her young sons delivered them. Paula was later hired by a Best Western Hotel in Savannah to cook. She worked there five years before opening her own restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in downtown Savannah. Paula was able to overcome her agoraphobia with her constant contact with guests. The restaurant was a success and later moved into a larger building in Savannah’s Historic District. She later successfully published a cookbook, and began her relationship with the Food Network in 1999 when a friend introduced her to executive producer Gordon Elliot. Paula appeared on the show Doorknock Dinners, where several episodes were filmed in Savannah. Paula also appeared on Ready, Set, Cook! and finally got her own show in 2003, Paula's Home Cooking. An appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show, where she shared her inspirational life story, solidified her name across the country with millions of women viewers. Paula Deen cookbooks became sizzling hot sellers, and then in 2004, Paula was happily remarried to Michael Groover, a tugboat pilot in the port of Savannah.

Note of humor: Paula, always bubbly, natural, and outspoken, was the first cooking host ever to have her language censored by the Food Network for a colorful word that she let slip while making hot wings.


 

Here's Paula's recipe for homemade peach cobbler using a Dutch oven. Her unconventional use of a Dutch oven in today's kitchens is refreshing, evocative of when it was used, some decades ago, much more often by home cooks.

If you happen to have an old cast-iron Dutch oven in the garage from camping trips or long-ago Girl/Boy Scout troop leader days, this is an opportune time to haul that baby out and dust it off.

Descoware and Le Crueset Dutch ovens are also excellent for baking this delicious, but simple peach cobbler.

 

Paula Deen's Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Cobbler:

Topping:

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Dutch oven with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Drain 1 can of the peaches. Combine both cans of peaches, including the juice from the undrained can, the blueberries, if using, the baking mix, sugar, and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Place this mixture into the Dutch oven.

To make the topping: Combine the biscuit mix, sugar, butter, and milk in a resealable plastic bag. Drop bits of dough, using your fingers, on top of the peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crusty.

 

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Sources:
About.com: Gourmet Food website, (http://gourmetfood.about.com/od/chefbiographie1/p/pauladeenbio.htm).
Food Network website, "Paula Deen," (www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/dutch-oven-peach-cobbler-recipe/index.html).
Internet Movie Database, "Paula Deen", (www.imdb.com).