Thanksgiving is next week and Thanksgiving means chopping, sauteing, baking and roasting. I’m not going to share any Thanksgiving recipes, because you already have your own and people don’t want new recipes to grace their table on Thanksgiving. People want what they have been eating for years. Why? Because it reminds them of home and childhood. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of some of the dishes that adorn my parents’ table, but I still look forward to cooking them with my mother and sisters. Why? You guessed it, because I have vivid memories as a kid of waking up and helping my mom tear up loaves (yes, loaves – I have a big family) of white bread for stuffing (many people call this “dressing,” but I grew up knowing it as stuffing). I loved tearing up the bread, because as a kid what could be better than doing what you can’t do the other 364 days of the year?
This year I’m heading to my parents and I am going to try my best not to suggest new recipes (unless solicited). However, I will offer to cook dinner Wednesday or Friday night. Those nights you are free to create and experiment. (Okay, maybe not experiment with my family. I’ll play it safe. Quiches were a big hit last year. This year I’m still working on it.) If you like to cook, then the non-Thanksgiving nights are the perfect nights to offer to cook dinner. No one wants to cook after the marathon on Thanksgiving. Most cooks are happy to pass the spatula and delighted when you reimagine leftovers or just offer an entirely new dish (everyone gets sick of leftovers).
I present this dish as a great way to keep with the fall flavors, but deviate from the Thanksgiving tradtion. It reinvents butternut squash from a side dish into a main dish – with class. Plus, your hosts will be impressed that you know what a galette is and, more practically, that you can easily make a delicious crust without the fuss of a pie pan (which most likely you can’t use anyway because it still contains some kind of pie). You should, however, consider making a few galettes if you are serving more than four people like me (9-10). Either way serve it with a simple side salad to round out the dinner.
In summary, hold back on adjusting Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a tough job. Offer to cook another night to lighten the burden on your host. If you are hosting, best wishes! Also don’t leave a plastic meat thermometer in the turkey when you put it in the oven. It will melt. Use a metal one. (Yes, I’ve melted one on a turkey. It still turned out okay.)
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galetteadapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen Dough 1 1/4 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons cold butter (1 stick), diced 1/4 cup plain yogurt 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon) zest of 1 lemon (optional) 1/4 cup ice water Filling 1 butternut squash (about 1 lb) 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced 1 teaspoon salt, divided pinch of sugar 1 teaspoon diced roasted poblano pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper) 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1 teaspoon dried sage 1 egg
In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt and lemon zest. Dice and work the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and water. Mix together with your hands or a wooden spoon until roughly combined. Pour the floury mixture onto a clean work surface and knead the dough together. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and dice the butternut squash. Toss the squash with the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Roast for 30 minutes, turning them midway. While roasting, melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, a pinch of sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in the poblano pepper, roasted squash, Parmesan cheese and dried sage.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a well-floured surface. Roll the disk into a 12-inch circle and move into a baking sheet. Evenly spread the filling on top of the dough, leaving 1 1/2-inch border. Fold and pleat the edges of the dough, overlapping with the filling and leaving the center open. Brush the dough with an egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water).
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut and serve warm. Enjoy with a lightly dressed side salad.