This past week was one that trickled by too slowly, with nearly every moment sharp with anxiety. I’m in a lousy housing situation that turned sour very quickly, and am now stuck in a dragging, miserable hunt for a new home that is beautiful, affordable, and filled with wonderful people (and a decent kitchen, of course). As anyone who lives in DC knows, finding that magical mix is elusive at best. Hair-pulling and sobbing and desperate moaning at its worst.
I’ve been spending most evenings de-stressing with my boyfriend and reruns of Downton Abbey, which is totally the cat’s meow for me right now. Guys, if you haven’t seen this show, you need to git on it. Maggie Smith always wears this hat that looks like a bunch of grapes. It gets me every time.
But mid-week, my friend K sent me a belated birthday gift, a copy of An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. Accompanying the brown paper package was a handwritten note and colorful origami hearts and a crane. Nothing like snail mail from a loving friend to brighten a surly mood. And I’d been eying this book for awhile after I watched this video with Tamar. This woman is totally my newest superhero. Young, brilliant, and wise, her philosophical and gentle approach to food and cooking reminded me of the comfort a simple meal can bring. Something I quickly forgot during a season of stress. Watch this video and tell me you don’t love her.
So this weekend, I returned to my kitchen to make something seasonal, wholesome, and soothing. I used to make savory galettes all the time – basically, a rustic, open-faced savory pie without the fuss. But I haven’t made any in such a long time, and this cloudy, moody weather was the ideal excuse to nestle inside with roasting garlic, caramelizing onions, and buttery pie crust. This recipe may look long and intimidating, but it’s really rather simple. Gather your ingredients, put on some music, and enjoy.
butternut squash galette with goat cheese and sage
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
1 batch of whole wheat galette dough (see below)
2 – 2½ pounds butternut squash (or other winter squash)
1 small head of garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
1 onion, finely diced
12 sage leaves, chopped fine
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
1 egg, beaten
s + p
whole wheat galette dough
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ t salt
½ T sugar
12 T cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
juice of half a lemon
1/3 – 1/2 cup ice water
Roast the squash first. Preheat the oven to 375. Cut your squash in half lengthwise, and brush the flesh with olive oil. Stuff the cavities with the garlic, and place the squash flesh-side-down on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. After the squash has cooled, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and squeeze the garlic cloves from their peels – they should pop right out. Mince the garlic and add it to the squash. Mash it all together, leaving some chunky bits for texture. Set aside.
While the squash is cooking, make the galette dough. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt, and sugar. Scatter the cold butter cubes on top of the flour, and using your fingers, a knife, or a pastry cutter, quickly incorporate the butter into the dough. Check out this cheesy-awesome video on how to make a good, flaky pie crust if you haven’t done this before. Mix the lemon juice and ice water together, and add a tablespoon at a time to the dough until it starts to come together. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and stick it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
In a medium skillet, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil on medium-low heat, and sauté the onions until they’re golden and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the sage in the middle of the sautéing, so they get a little crispy. Add the goat cheese, onion, and sage to the squash mixture, stir together, and add salt and pepper to taste.
On a floured countertop, roll out your galette dough until it’s about 14 inches in diameter. Gently place your dough on the backside of a cookie sheet (strange, I know). Scoop your squash filling into the middle of the dough, leaving an edge of about 3 inches around the perimeter. Gently fold the edges of dough over the filling, and brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg. Place a sage leaf in the middle of your galette for garnish.
Bake at 375 for 25 – 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly before slicing into wedges for serving. Pairs nicely with a salad and glass of white wine. And heats up well for leftovers!