Friday, December 28, 2012

Gardens and Galettes (Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onion)

My original intention was to put together a little holiday gift post. But then I thought, "Good lord, do you know how many well-edited gift guides have already been posted?" Followed by "Do you know how unbelievably late in the season you are trying to put this together?" And "Don't you think that one of the best gifts you can bring your holiday host(ess)is the gift of food?"
So there you have it. A combination of intimidation, tardiness and rethinking caused me ditch my holiday gift guide idea. But had I included some cookbooks that you simply had to have, I would have included The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. 
I decided to make Deb's Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette which is on p. 99 of the book, though a scaled down version of it was previously posted on the Smitten Kitchen site about 5 years ago. The book recipe makes a much larger galette than I needed, so I decided to make a smaller version, which would still amply feed my family. It also allowed me to cut down on the incredible amount of butter needed for the larger galette crust (read: 16 tablespoons). Though I will admit, I firmly believe the holidays are about great friends, good wine, terrific conversation and lots of delicious food-- some of which contains a good deal of butter. 
This galette, which is like a free-form rustic tart, takes a bit of time to make. So when the boys went down for their nap, I put on some Chet Baker (I'm really feeling him these days), made myself a little cocktail and got to work.
The recipe I posted is a hybrid of the book recipe, the blog recipe and this post from Seven Spoons. I had enough Fontina in my fridge to grate 1 cup, but if you don't have enough on hand good substitutes for Italian Fontina are Gruyere and Emmentaler (maybe even Asiago). If you are thinking about using Fontinella, don't (I almost made that mistake). This American-made, semi-hard, pasteurized cow's milk cheese is not related to Fontina at all. They are completely different, so don't use it here. I also opted for thyme instead of sage, though both would work in this galette. 
The outcome was one down-right delicious meal. I have only one little caveat: don't rush the process. You really need to keep the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. Otherwise you'll end up with a bit of a mess once you start rolling it out.
Also, if you don't have a pastry blender (they are around $10), you can use a food processor to mix the dough. But be sure to use it on its lowest setting, and keep an eye on the texture-- you don't want to over-work the dough.
There's a bit of waiting time with this recipe but be patient, it's worth it. And if you bring it to a New Years Eve party, I'm pretty sure it'll be a hit!

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette (Adapted slightly from this Smitten Kitchen post, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and Seven Spoons)
Yields: 1 9-inch galette, Serves 6
You can click on the Seven Spoons link above for the larger pie recipe.

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/4 pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1 large Vidalia or Spanish (sweet) onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons

Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
3/4 -1 cup grated Fontina cheese (about 2 1/2- 2 3/4 ounces). You could also use Gruyere.
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, for optional glaze. (It gives the galette more of a croissant-looking finish.)

To make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the stick of butter and, using a pastry blender, break up the bits of butter until the texture is like cornmeal, with the biggest pieces the size of pebbles. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water, and pour this over the butter-flour mixture. Stir with a spoon or a rubber spatula until a dough forms, kneading it once or twice on the counter if needed to bring it together. Do not over work the dough. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic and chill it in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to two days.

Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt, some freshly ground black pepper and roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.

Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in cayenne. 

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

Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. (Optional: Brush the outside of the crust with the egg-yolk wash.)

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

Now I've been consuming a lot of great food since Thanksgiving. We've had some wonderful meals, terrific desserts and a Fondue party, where there wasn't an ounce of restraint in sight. So we decided to take the kids on a hike in an effort to kind of "work it off" a little. I thought our last hike of the year was going to be this one near Boulder, but the weather turned out to be mild for another few days, so more hiking was in store. There really is nothing like fresh air, right?

The Garden of the Gods is a place we've been only once, so it was nice to be back. The rock formations are gorgeous and the views (you can see Pikes Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain) are spectacular. The hike itself is on a paved path so it's not exactly what I would call a rigorous trail, but it is a really nice place to take a walk. I hear there are more strenuous hikes in the area, which I hope to check out in the spring.
After our hike, we got in the car and started making our way back to Denver. We toyed with the idea of stopping by the 'Focus on the Family' headquarters and taking a family photo that was purposefully out of focus (something that is pretty much in-line with our sense of humor). And we thought that shot would make a pretty great image for our holiday card next year (if we can ever manage to get them out in time). But the boys were tired and so was I, so we just kept driving...
...and when we got home, I started thumbing through all those great cookbooks I've either purchased or been gifted over the past 12 months. And I started to menu plan...
I can't wait to share more recipes next year, but for now I'm signing off for the rest of 2012. 
Have a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year! Thank you for all the comments, the suggestions and the support. I has meant a lot to me.
See you in 2013!
Be well,
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  1. Batya, This looks delicious and PERFECT for NYE! Your photos are so mouthwatering that maybe Deb will hire you to photograph food for her next book :) We continue to enjoy your Colorado pics too! Happy New Year. -Jane from Boulder

    1. Thanks, Jane! I think it would be great for NYE. Thanks for the comment too. Oh please tell Deb to hire me (though I think she's done quite well on her own!). I'm going to start getting much more serious about perfecting my images, so we will see if I can make something happen out of it. Who knows! Have a great NYE and thanks for checking in from Boulder! xo

  2. Stunning post! Also, just so you know-- You are not alone--I have also confused Fontina with Fontinella. Happy New Year to you and those gorgeous boys.

  3. Replies
    1. I have a great recipe for Farro Soup with Curry and Lemon Yogurt. You can use winter squash (butternut) or sweet potato.
      But of course it's just so, so good roasted with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
      Happy New Year!

  4. Yum! Although considering my recent battles with Deb in the kitchen I'll probably just reserve my spot as a "taste tester" on this one. That Theo is the cutest little bunny... just want to smooch those cheeks!

    1. I'm happy to provide the taste :) Thank..after a tough beginning, that Theo is just so scrumptious. How are L and C feeling. I hope everyone is better! xo