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Meatless Monday!

A new column in which readers and local restaurants can share a meat-free dish.

Meatless Monday!

The Carroll Gardens Patch has launched a new weekly column in the spirit of the Meatless Monday initiative, which promotes going without meat one day a week. Here we'll share favorite recipes submitted by neighbors and local restaurants in which vegetables are the main attraction.

Today's non-vegan tested and approved Butternut Squash Hand Pies come from blogger Troy Farmer, who writes: "We usually make these for Thanksgiving or the holidays, but they're a great cold weather party snack too."


Butternut Squash Hand Pies

Ingredients

For the pastry crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose plour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks vegan margarine (we like Willow Run), very cold
1/4 cup or more ice water


For the filling:
1 medium Butternut Squash
1/2 a Sweet Onion (like Maya Gold or Vidalia, when it's in season)
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of vegetable broth—fresh, if possible
Olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1. This pie crust recipe's based on Martha Stewart's Pate Brisée. She uses a food processor to make it, but we always do it by hand. When you're ready, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl along with the salt.

2. Take one stick of margarine, unwrapped, and cut into small squares, touching the margarine as little as possible.

3. Using the knife and a fork, scrape pieces into the flour mixture. Scrape off only enough at a time that they can rest in the flour mixture without touching other margarine pieces and sticking together. When you've reached capacity for the surface area, lightly mix the margarine pieces in so they're coated with flour. Then, cut more pieces in and do the same. Repeat process with the second stick of margarine.

4. Once it's all in, take a rubber spatula or a fork and quickly smash the pieces throughout the flour mixture, creating tiny, pea-sized bits. Then, slowly mix in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, watching to see when the mixture begins to bind together and making sure that you're thoroughly combining. Once a dough starts to form a ball that doesn't look wet but isn't too powdery, stop adding water. You're done. Cover and refrigerate, at least an hour or up to 8.

5. Next, create the filling. First, carefully divide the butternut squash down its length and place face-down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until the outer skin easily punctures when pricked with a fork, about 30 to 45 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, dice the onion and sauté in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil until caramelized, 10 minutes or so.

7. Add smashed, peeled, and diced garlic; cook for about 5 minutes, lowering heat if garlic begins to brown too much.

8. When squash is ready, remove and set aside to cool. Then, carefully peel off the skin. Add squash to the onions and garlic; saute for 10 minutes.

9. Add spices and the vegetable broth. Cook, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring now and then to achieve a mashed-potato-like consistency. Remove from heat; let cool.

10. Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Cut lose a ball of dough about the size of an adult fist. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll the ball into a disk that's about a quarter of an inch thick. Place 1/4 cup of the cooled filling on one half of the dough disk, gently folding the other side over so you form a half-moon. Seal the edges with a fork. If the dough does not not stick to itself, add a little water between the two edges. Set aside; repeat until the dough and/or filling are kaput. Place hand pies on a baking sheet so that they're not touching. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

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