As someone who keeps “to do” lists all year, it should be no surprise that I love making New Year’s resolutions. I find starting a new year quite therapeutic; a chance to reflect on the year that has passed, whilst looking at ways to improve myself as time marches on. Some of my food goals for the year are:
- To cook more by attempting to make five new recipes a month.
- Eat less sugar, wheat, and meat.
- Eat more legumes, such as lentils and beans.
I feel confident that these are achievable, but I think the two goals that I will find the most difficult will be the limiting of wheat and sugar in my diet. If you read my blog regularly than you will have noticed that I love pizza and pastries, and I have a sweet tooth. Yikes! I figure that all I can do is give it my best shot!
With my goals in mind (eat more legumes and attempt a new recipe), I made Mushroom Walnut Pâté for the very first time. I was inspired to make pâté after eating an incredible version of Walnut and Portobello Pâté from The Acorn. I found a similar recipe through a blog called Urban Chickpea. Although the recipe is a little time-consuming, there is nothing difficult about it and the end result was pretty damn amazing, even if I do say so myself!
Advice that I can give is to really watch the amount of salt in your stock when you cook the lentils as it would be quite easy to over-season this recipe. Secondly, it really does taste better when you let it rest overnight. The sample that I tried that had only been sitting for a few hours was quite salty, but the batch that was allowed to sit overnight was a lot less salty. You can serve it with crackers, or with toasted bread or crisps. Overall, I will absolutely be making this again and serving it with a wheat-free bread. Happy New Year!
Mushroom Walnut Pate – Makes about 3 cups
1 cup Lentils de Puy (French green lentils)
3 cups vegetable stock, preferably unsalted
1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 8-10 ounce package of cremini mushrooms (about 3 cups), thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry (or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
2 teaspoons of salt
Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear. Add them to a large pot with the vegetable stock and the Herbes de Provence and bay leaf. The stock should be about 2 inches above the lentils; add water if it’s not at that level. Bring up to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are fully cooked, about 45 minutes, adding water as necessary. The lentils will retain their shape, but will no longer be hard or gritty on the inside.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On a sheet tray, spread out the walnuts and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. They will be slightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Heat up a large saute pan and add the oil. Saute the onion over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt until it is soft and golden brown. Then add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms with another pinch of salt and saute until they are brown and much of the liquid has evaporated. The whole mixture should be soft and look caramelized. Then add the dry sherry, using it to scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until most of the sherry has evaporated. Then remove from heat.
In the food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely ground. Then add the cooked lentils (drained from their water and with the bay leaf removed), the mushroom mixture and the 2 teaspoons of salt. Puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and add salt until it tastes perfect. Then add two extra pinches of salt. It will taste too salty warm, but once it cools, it will taste perfect again. The palate perceives salt differently in hot and cold food.
Spoon mixture into a loaf pan, mold or tupperware and cover with plastic wrap. Then place a similarly-sized container on top and weigh it down to press the pate. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Invert on a plate to serve as an hors d’oeuvre or spread on bread for your sandwich.
The original recipe can be found at Urban Chickpea. She has some great advice on using it on veggie sandwiches.