Is this a good place to admit that in all years I sat down at the Thanksgiving table when I didn’t eat meat, it never occurred to me that I needed an alternative meal? Because: sweet potatoes. Because: green beans. Because: stuffing and cranberries and dinner rolls and four types of pie! My plate was heavy. My face was stuffed. I mean, who’s really in it for the turkey?
But, you’re probably a better vegetarian than I was (one who does not consider a montage of side dishes a proper meal) or at least a better host (one who believes every guest, regardless of diet, deserves a main dish), which means that you are probably currently tasked with making something vegetable-centric that’s a) not just everyone else’s side dish, b) ideally contains protein too, c) would be a good fit for the other harvest-y flavors on the table, i.e. no small order.
May I suggest a galette? These savory free-form pies have been an Smitten Kitchen favorite since our 2006 inception. There was one with Wild Mushrooms and Stilton, Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onions, Zucchini and Ricotta, Cabbage and Mushroom and even one with Burst Tomato with Zucchini and Corn (no side-eye over the zucchini, please, there were several at the market this week! Corn, yeah, not so much). Or, if you’re looking for something new, how about this one with roasted leeks, white beans, a little lemon, garlic and really never enough gruyere cheese?
Here’s the thing: any of these recipes will make one large (that can be cut into 8 appetizer-portion wedges) or four smaller ones that could replace turkey and gravy on a vegetarian plate. The dough keeps for a week in the fridge and longer in the freezer. The baked galettes keep for at least two days in peak form in the fridge and rewarm fantastically and all are also good nearing room temperature, which means that even if you’re juggling a massive menu, they’re not going to add any last-minute cooking drama. Plus, most essentially, they’re insanely good with the flakiest dough I know how to make and flavorful fillings and really don’t be surprised if people forgo the turkey to grab one of these instead.
One year ago: Classic Pecan Pie with Praline Sauce
Two years ago: Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
Three years ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Four years ago: Gingersnaps
Five years ago: Creamed Onions with Bacon and Chives
Six years ago: Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie
Seven years ago: Winter Fruit Salad and Mushroom and Barley Pie
Eight years ago: Pumpkin Waffles and Creamy White Polenta with Mushrooms
Nine years ago: Cranberry Sauce, Three Ways, Tomato and Sausage Risotto and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Fake Shack Burger
1.5 Years Ago: Soft Pretzel Buns and Knots
2.5 Years Ago: Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano
3.5 Years Ago: Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice
4.5 Years Ago: Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
Roasted Leek and White Bean Galettes
Filling inspired by this Food & Wine gratin
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup (60 grams) plain yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) ice water
For the filling
6 small-to-medium leeks, dark green tops discarded, white and light green parts halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup grated gruyère cheese, divided
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Make dough: Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
Meanwhile, prepare filling: Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange leeks cut-side-up in a large (9×13-inch) baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Flip the leeks so that their cut sides face down, add 3 tablespoons of water to the dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes until tender. Uncover and continue roasting the leeks for 10 to 15 minutes, or until caramelized. Leave oven on. Let leeks cool slightly, then chop into segments and place in a large bowl. Toss with beans, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, 1/2 cup grated cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble galettes: Divide dough into 4 pieces. On a floured counter, roll the first piece dough out into a roughly 8-inch round, although it really doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped. Transfer to a large parchment-lined baking sheet; I like to fold my dough gently, without creasing, in quarters then unfold it onto the baking pan. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the prepared filling into the center of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the remaining cheese. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze. Repeat with remaining dough and filling, making 4 small galettes.
Bake the galettes: For 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Or, if you’re planning ahead, let cool completely and refrigerate until needed. Gently rewarm before serving in a low oven.