I love the change of seasons, but especially the beginning of fall. Fall is my favorite time of year for so many reasons- all the ones you're thinking of, I'm sure. Who doesn't it love it when the weather demands that you snuggle up on your dog bed with a pillow and a blanket?
But food-wise, fall is my favorite time. I mean spring's great with all the peas and asparagus and whatever else, and summer has the corn and tomatoes and general healthy bounty, but I really could eat roasted vegetables every day of the week, and they're at their best in autumn. The fall and winter squashes beat the heck out of summer squash (don't even get me started), and then there's sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips... Couple this with the fact that your neck and butt no longer sweat just from chopping onions in the kitchen while the oven preheats, and the sudden perfect pairing of heavy, dark beers with the crisp evening air and you have one happy girl.
The first real fall meal I made this year (in the middle of October, because it took that long to feel like fall had arrived down here) was this galette. I made a wish-list of things I wanted to make this season and this one was begging to go first. Just couldn't stop thinking about it. And if you try it, you'll understand why. It's the perfect melding of fall flavors in one delightful, one-dish package. E and I tried to make this into a two-meal entree, but it was really too good not to finish in one night. I think that had we attempted to pair it with a side dish, it could have stretched, but really, we neither wanted nor needed any flavor-tampering to get in the way of this superb dinner.
Sausage, apple, and kale galette
pie crust (use one store bought crust, or use your favorite recipe)
1.5-2 links sweet Italian sausage (a vegan sausage would be great in this)
3/4 white onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 small apple (or 3/4 big apple)*
1/2 cup grated Parmiggiano
1/2 cu. white wine or tasty beer (use what you've got on hand)
salt and pepper
1/2 cu. white wine
Preheat oven to 400. Heat a medium-sized pan to med-high and slice sausage. Brown sausage pieces and drain on paper towel when done. If the pan has a lot of grease, remove most of it. Then add kale and immediately deglaze the pan with half the wine. Sprinkle the kale with salt, toss until wilted, then remove from pan and set aside (this takes barely a couple of minutes). Add a little oil to the pan and put in the onions. When the onions begin to turn translucent, turn the heat to med-low, and add the rest of the wine. (If your onions get brown, that's fine- mine got burnt and you couldn't even tell in the end.) After about 5 more minutes, add the garlic and a sprinkle of salt and a couple grinds of pepper, and let it all cook for another 5 minutes. While the onions cook, chop the apple pieces into small cubes, and toss them into the pan for those last five minutes of cooking. Pull the pan off the heat and get your crust ready.
Flour your counter (or rolling surface) and roll out the crust to a diameter of about 12-14 inches. (Note: if you have no idea how to estimate 12 inches, grab a piece of 8.5"x11" paper and make sure your diameter is longer than the paper) Place the crust onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the kale down in the center of the crust, leaving about a 2 inch border. Top the kale with the onions and apple, then sprinkle most of the cheese over that. Arrange the sausage slices on top, and add one last sprinkle of cheese. Now fold the crust up over the edge of the mixture, pleating it and pinching to seal it. Brush the crust with butter, and put into the oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the crust is nice and golden brown. Enjoy that last 1/2 cup of wine while you wait. Cool until you can no longer stand it, then dig in. Then wait for what seems like an appropriate amount time before admitting that you really have to have another piece.
*I think I used a Gala, but any of the sweeter varieties would be fine. If I'm being completely honest, I think the apple I used was leftover from a trip to Panera and stored in my purse for 3 days. So when I say you don't have to be picky, I mean it.