Autumn has always been my favorite season, which would be rather surprising given that I grew up in a place where the only two seasons are “Summer” and “not-Summer”. For most residents of Arizona, Autumn is a time of bitter rage when we look at Istagram pictures of fiery-colored leaves while sighing in resigned exasperation at our perpetually brown, prickly landscape. While the rest of the country is ooh-ing and ahh-ing over pumpkin-spice lattes in their scarves and mittens, we’re still chugging iced tea in hopes of avoiding death by heat stroke. But Autumn was also a time of great optimism because it always signalled that the worst of the heat was over and pleasant weather where normal activities like going outside to get the mail or stepping into a car would no longer put one at risk for skin cancer or third degree burns.
Now that I live in beautiful Montreal where Autumn is beautiful past the point of absurdity, I decided that I needed to cook some autumnal foods. And of course, what could be more autumnal than butternut squash?
So, as I often do while procrastinating, I browsed Pinterest and Smitten Kitchen for inspiration. I came across this recipe (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/10/butternut-squash-and-caramelized-onion-galette/) for a carmelized onion and butternut squash galette from Smitten Kitchen.
Because Smitten Kitchen is very, well, legit and serious about food, their recipe includes instructions for making your own pastry dough. While I normally would follow suit (because everything is better from scratch), I happened to have some left-over frozen puff-pastry from a dinner party so I decided to use that instead. Also, on a Monday night, ‘aint nobody got time for that. Additionally, this recipe calls for fontina cheese and fresh sage. Because I simply forgot it at the grocery store (sometimes existing in another language seems to give me mild dementia), I used the next best things that were already in my fridge: parmesan and fresh oregano. As it turns out, it was still delicious.
My roommate chopping the squash beast.
The butternut squash I purchased was absolutely massive and provided more than twice the amount of squash that was actually necessary for this recipe. I enlisted the help of my roommate to chop it into tiny pieces.
Eventually, the squash was conquered.
Turns out, butternut squash is quite difficult to cut. It took a surprising amount effort to get things going. At one point, the squash was definitely the target of some rage.
But eventually, it was conquered.
With a bit of classical music in the background and a pleasantly chilly breeze coming in from outside, this recipe turned out to be the perfect thing for an early Autumn evening.
This thing was, let me tell you, DELICIOUS.
I put a bunch of the left-over squash on a salad for lunch tomorrow.
It has kale, pear, chopped almond, dried cherries, some local chevre and, of course, roasted butternut squash.
Recipe for Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Galette:
1 butternut squash (whatever size makes you happy)
2 tablespoons of olive oil (I rarely actually measure olive oil, just drizzle it)
1-2 tablespoons of butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of salt
A pinch of sugar
½ teaspoon of Cayenne pepper
¾ cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ teaspoons of fresh, chopped oregano
1 package of frozen puff-pastry
First, and most importantly, DEFROST THE PUFF PASTRY. Seriously, I cannot tell you how many times I have had easily-preventable baking disasters because I got impatient and did not properly defrost the puff-pastry. Just do it. Seriously, do it.
Step 1: The Squash
Pre-heat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Peel the squash, chop it and remove the innards. You will want a very serious knife for this task. Then chop it into about 1-inch cubes and spread them out on a baking sheet. Drizzle in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes.
Step 2: The Onion
Meanwhile, chop up the onion. Heat the butter in a saucepan until it is melted and add the onions. Sprinkle with some salt and add the sugar. Cook the onions on low heat until they are translucent and slightly brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Cayenne pepper.
Step 3: Putting It All Together
Once the squash is done cooking, increase the oven temperature to 400 F/205 C. Combine the onion and squash in a bowl and mix in the oregano and parmesan cheese. Next, roll out the puff-pastry (which you most definitely defrosted) onto an un-greased baking sheet. Dump the squash and onion mixture into the center of the dough and fold the edges around it. Don’t worry about making it look too perfect (unless you have a touch of OCD and uneven edges make you nervous, then by all means go for it). Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the puff-pastry is golden brown.
As a responsible person, I feel I should tell you to wait for it to cool a bit before eating it. But I know that that is totally, in every way, unrealistic. Once you take the galette out of the oven, split it equitably with whomever you’re dining with and dig in!
Bonne Appetit, mes amis!