Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Meatless Thanksgiving Dinner :: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

As the daughter of two Indian immigrants, I didn't grow up having traditional Thanksgiving dinner when I was a child; my vegetarian family spent the day eating our favorite Indian or Tex-Mex foods and watching (and sometimes playing) football. After all, we did live in Texas. 

After a series of unexpected events, I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my place at the last minute. I am faced with the challenge of preparing a meatless Thanksgiving dinner that will be savory and satisfying for both non-vegetarians and vegetarians.

Thankfully, my Farm Fresh to You box saved me with its beautiful butternut squash, tons of leeks, king trumpet mushrooms, head of red cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, a bouquet of sage, thyme and rosemary and onions. My first thought was to make a butternut squash and caramelized onion galette with sage, fontina and goat cheese (see recipe at end of post). And a wild mushroom tart with gruyere, rosemary and thyme.

Mostly inspired by the contents of my CSA box, my Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner menu is below along with my wine pairings for Thanksgiving dinner. (I just might stick to wine and cheese all night!)

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 

cheese platter ::  purple haze, truffle tremor, midnight moon, sartori, black eyed susan, pepato by bellweather farms, blue st agur
accompaniments :: olives, honey crisp apples, raw honey, walnuts, cracked peppercorn flatbread
leek ragu on crostini
sweet potatoes with brown sugar, nutmeg and butter 

pecan pie with vanilla bean ice cream
pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream

Wine Suggestions for Thanksgiving Dinner

Rochioli Russian River Valley Estate Chardonnay 2009
Peay Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir 2009
Williams Selyem Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

Cain Concept Napa Valley Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon) 2007
Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Red (Cabernet Sauvignon) 2007
Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Far Niente Dolce 2005

Other Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner Suggestions
I imagine that many of you are searching for vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner recipes, so in addition to my dinner menu, I am sharing some of my favorite vegetarian and vegan dishes that are fit for Thanksgiving and the holidays. 

Start with this perfect holiday salad, arugula with persimmon, pomegranate and pistachios, that is sure to please your guests, vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Or for some added color, try golden beets with feta or red beets with goat cheese and pistachios.

Leek ragu on crostini and spicy chick pea bruschetta make wonderful appetizers and are always a big hit at my dinner parties, as are baked ricotta with herbs and feta with salsa verde and cannellini beans on crostini.

Next offer a warm bowl of curry-and-cumin-scented carrot soup, a butternut squash soup or a celery potato soup.

Vegetarians have no shortage of side dishes, so finding a satisfying, tasty main dish is often the biggest challenge.  For a non-Turkey Thanksgiving main, I wanted a dish that would capture the autumnal feel of Thanksgiving, something with pumpkin or butternut squash.  Nothing screams autumn more than pumpkin ravioli with crispy sage in a brown butter sauce. Except for maybe butternut squash and caramelized onion galette with goat cheese and sage.

If you want to avoid winter squash, try this wonderfully delicious and filling cauliflower gratin or my favorite eggplant parmesan (if you can find a decent eggplant this time of year). Or a wonderful artichoke and fennel ravioli with a tomato fennel sauce.

As a host I would love to serve a perfect risotto, like this wild mushroom and leek risotto, but I am far too weary about timing it perfectly for when guest arrive, especially since there will be lots of small kids running around. Instead I recommend dishes that can be prepared in advance and do not require a lot of "active" time. This absolutely delicious wild mushroom tart with gruyere, rosemary and thyme will satisfy any cravings for earthy mushrooms.

What about a creamy, deliciously gooey mac and cheese that, as an added bonus, reheats incredibly well and is perfect for a crowd? Sound too good to be true? I beg you to try Martha's macaroni and cheese with gruyere and sharp cheddar. I made Martha's mac and cheese back in May for a friend's wedding in Tahoe for 60+ people. Huge success. Do yourself a favor and make Martha's mac and cheese this Thanksgiving. And if you somehow manage to have leftovers, you will thank me.

Of course roasted Brussels sprouts with Maldon, roasted carrots or maybe this Moroccan spiced carrot salad and sweet potatoes (sadly, probably slathered with brown sugar and butter), must make an appearance. And maybe roasted radishes with vegetarian bagna cauda and roasted cauliflower with capers, pine nuts and parsley. For a quick winter squash side, try this quick and easy ginger and thyme roasted delicata squash.

What vegetarian dishes do you have on your Thanksgiving menu? Ya'll have a happy Thanksgiving! :-)

Butternut squash and caramelized onion galette with goat cheese, fontina and sage
1 small butternut squash, halved and seeds removed 1 small onion 1/2 tbsp butter 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing squash
2 oz fresh goat cheese (log)
3/4 cup grated fontina
1/4 cup grated parmesan
8 sage leaves, coarsely chopped or torn into pieces
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375. Halve butternut squash, remove seeds and brush each cut side with olive oil. Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until tender but not a pulp. The squash should be easy to dice but should not be so soft that forms more of a puree. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Keep the oven on and increase temperature to 400.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add butter and 1 tbsp olive oil, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onion, stir and continue cooking for about 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown, stirring often. Season with 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Once squash is cool enough to handle, peel off the flesh and dice the squash into 1/2" cubes. Combine with caramelized onion and fontina cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

On a well floured surface, roll out galette dough into a 12" circle. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with parmesan, leaving at least a 1" border. Spread the caramelized onion, butternut squash and fontina cheese mixture evenly over the dough up to 1" from the edge. Dot with goat cheese. Tuck sage leaves evenly throughout. Sprinkle a little sea salt and pepper on top and dust with remaining parmesan.

Fold the uncovered dough up and over the filling, making a crude shell around the edge. Brush edge with beaten egg. Bake on the lowest rack in the oven until crust is nicely browned, about 35 minutes. 

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