Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
I try not to present you with recipes that are overly fussy, take too long, or contain lots of obscure ingredients.  I have probably, in my zeal, missed these targets at times, but I hope you all know that I keep these ideas in mind when selecting recipes for this blog.  I can understand that one might balk at the number of components involved in this dish, but I hope you'll try it anyway; I think you'll agree that it's worth it.

I have found that with a bit of advance work, this makes an excellent weeknight family dinner.  You can make the pastry up to 2 days in advance, and it takes only a few minutes of work to peel and cube squash for roasting a day or two ahead, especially if you already have the oven on for something else.  Caramelizing onions in quantity is always a good idea (they're delicious on almost anything, and they freeze!), and with most of the components precooked, you can have a showstopping entree on the table in under an hour.

from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

serves 6-8

for pastry:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (substitute part or all for whole wheat pastry, if you like)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks or 1/2 lb) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream or full fat Greek yogurt (i.e., a strained yogurt)
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup ice water

for filling:
2 small or 1 large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs total)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
2 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (or melty cheese of your choice)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme OR 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
OR 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for glaze (optional, but recommended!)

Harvesting butternuts
Make pastry:  In a bowl, combine flour and salt.  Add the whole sticks of butter and, using a pastry blender, break up the butter until the texture is like cornmeal, with the biggest bits the size of small peas.  (Alternatively, you can do this bit in a food processer; I'd cut the sticks of butter into smaller pieces first, then tip the mixture into a large mixing bowl after the butter is cut in.)  In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, vinegar, and water, and pour this over the butter-flour mixture.  Stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until a dough forms, kneading it once or twice if needed to bring it together.  Pat the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and chill it in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Prepare squash:  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Peel the squash, then halve and scoop out seeds.  Cut into 1/2-inch chunks.  Pour 2 Tablespoons olive oil into a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones), spreading it to an even slick.  Lay the squash chunks on the baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper, and roast for 30 minutes, or until squash is tender, turning the pieces occasionally so that they brown evenly.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Leave oven on.

Caramelize onions:  While squash is roasting, melt butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet, and cook the onions over medium-low heat with the sugar and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender, about 25 minutes.  Stir in cayenne pepper, if using.

Mix squash, onions, cheese, and herbs together in a bowl.

Assemble galette:  On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 16-to-17-inch round.  Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Spread the squash-and-cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-to-2 1/2-inch border.  Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit.  The center will be open.  Brush the outside of crust with the egg-yolk wash, if using.

Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove the galette from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide it onto a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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