Halloween decorations may still be gently swaying in the breeze, playfully teasing the onset of fall, but every serious cook and baker knows the truth: It’s game time.
Thanksgiving Menu Planning Starts Now
November marks the official start of The Holiday Season, replete with Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas cookies, and all the festive snacks in between. Now is your chance to map out a plan to maximize your meals with minimal effort. As such, the grand meatless entree is always a key consideration, prone to sending experienced hosts into fits of anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a frozen roast at the grocery store, but given the opportunity to prep this far in advance, I’d implore you to consider a more thoughtful, homemade main dish.
Meet Your New Holiday Centerpiece
Rich with the heady umami flavor of Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms, this free-form pie folds silky caramelized onions into roasted garlic and sliced mushroom caps, celebrating the interplay between sweet and savory. Time, not skill, is the most essential ingredient in making this Caramelized Onion & Shiitake Galette, which is why I wanted to put it on your radar, post-haste. As an edible ode to the season, each slice embodies an ideal tapestry of autumn’s earthy, naturally comforting tastes and textures.
Close your eyes and imagine the sound of flaxen leaves crunching beneath your feet. That’s the essence of this pastry foundation; crispy, golden, and somehow instantly nostalgic. As your fork glides through its layers, there’s a satisfying resistance, followed by a buttery surrender that melts into a crescendo of intense flavor from the filling.
Enhancing Inherent Sweetness
Garlic and onions are both remarkably sweet ingredients when treated with care. Cooked low and slow, the natural sugars come to the fore, caramelizing and intensifying like straight-up vegetable candy. What really sets this filling apart are the shiitake mushrooms, already known flavor enhancers, that are soaked in woodsy apple cider rather than plain water. Sugimoto koshin shiitake have broad, flat caps, perfect for slicing into meaty ribbons that mimic the shape of the onion strings. Their edges crisp gently in the oven, amplifying the whole experience. Subtly tart, with a splash of balsamic vinegar thrown in for good measure, crafting the perfect bite is all about balance.
But What About The Protein?
If you’re worried about fending off pointed questions from “concerned” family members about your protein intake, fear not. You can easily pack in the plant-based protein in a number of ways:
- Serve smothered with chickpea gravy
- Top with crumbled tofu feta
- Mix cooked black lentils into the filling
- Use the leftover cider to make Cider-Marinated Tofu Turkeys
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips
No one wants to spend the holiday in the kitchen while the rest of the family gets to relax around a crackling fire. Lay out your agenda days or weeks ahead of time to simplify the whole process, and make sure you get to enjoy the occasion too.
- Make the pie crust first since it needs to chill. You can prep it up to 6 months in advance and store it in the freezer. Simply thaw at room temperature before rolling.
- Prep the filling up to 5 days in advance. Simply transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
- Once assembled, the unbaked galette can be loosely covered with plastic wrap and frozen on the sheet pan for up to 1 month. You can bake it directly from frozen; just increase the bake time by about 10 minutes.
- Leftovers, if you have any, can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days. To reheat, pop individual slices into the toaster oven at 350 degrees for 8 – 12 minutes, until hot and crispy.
Fall For This Autumnal Comfort Food
As you stand on the threshold of the holiday season, looking ahead at all the festive meals to make and share, remember that the best meals unfold slowly, with care and creativity. As such, a holiday entree like this caramelized onion and shiitake galette isn’t just sustenance; it’s a celebration of textures and flavors that captures the essence of autumn. May its rustic beauty, with a golden, flaky crust and rich, earthy filling, be the beginning of a joyous Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, or any festive occasion.