Time: Approx 25 minutes plus soaking
Makes: Around 3 cups (or 3 times what is shown in the photos)
Wow, I think I must be the world’s worst blogger. I just realised it’s been over two months since my last post. Terrible. My excuse it that since going back to full time work, I have been incredibly
lazy busy (well both are true), and am lucky if I cook dinner twice a week. I haven’t adapted to being able to make post – worthy food in 20 minutes from start to finish, which is all the time I’m willing to spend after being on my feet all day, because it’s just not how I cook. I’m working on it though.
So, in the spirit of getting back into my blogging responsibilities, today I’m posting a recipe that I’ve been meaning to publish since last Christmas. Perhaps even longer, since the first day I made it. Or maybe I was never going to publish it because I was going to sell it at my market stall, if I ever had the time to do that. But because it’s the season of giving, I give it to you now.
This pate is just so good that I’ve never gotten around to photographing it. It always disappears so quickly when I make it that the task is just about impossible. However, determined to at least post something from this year’s spectacular Christmas feast, this this time I was prepared. I took a third away and hid it so I could finally get a photo today, when nobody knew it existed. I then became very popular for the second day in a row when I revealed it for lunch, also part of my devious plan.
This pate is really easy to make, but is incredibly special. You could put this in a jar and give it to someone as a gift. I’ve fed this to mushroom haters who have devoured it within minutes, pate haters (yes they exist apparently, so weird) who were quickly converted, and to myself, the harshest critic of all, who will sit there with a whole baguette and eat it all if nobody stops me. It’s so, so yummy. So go ahead and make this and become a hero at your next potluck, dinner party, wine and cheese night, Christmas lunch, picnic, you name it. We all like to be worshipped once in a while.
375g Swiss brown mushrooms, cleaned
20g dried porcini mushrooms
1 1/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup cashews, soaked a few hours, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup porcini soaking liquid
3 tbsp olive oil
2 French shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
Pinch dried thyme
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Grated fresh black truffle* or black truffle oil, to taste
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
* A note about truffles: While they are technically a vegan ingredient, in most parts of the world, truffles are harvested using dogs or pigs. These animals are trained to seek out truffles, and work for their livelihoods. Some may be treated very well, as members of the family, but others won’t be. They are usually specially bred, which creates all kinds of issues, including puppy farms, adding to the number of unwanted dogs who are killed each year, and the question of what happens to those who don’t pass their training or are too old to continue. For this reason, while the flavour is far inferior, artificial truffle oil is the far more ethical way to go. That being said, I often receive free truffles through my work or friends in Italy, and I use them. You may be able to find foraged truffles which are not ethically problematic, or truffles from farms which don’t use animals. This is one of those ethical issues the individual needs to decide for themselves, but be aware if you are making this for a vegan, they may not eat real truffle.
1. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of cold and let soak for an hour (or more, more won’t hurt it). Drain them in a mesh sieve lined with a piece of paper over another bowl to reserve the liquid. Remove the paper towel and rinse the mushrooms well.
2. Heat the oven to 200C. Place the walnuts on a tray and roast in the oven for around 5 minutes, or until golden and roasty smelling. When roasting nuts I check them every other minute because they go from toasted to burnt in a flash. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for ten minutes or so.
3. Heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat and add the shallots. Cook until translucent then add the garlic and dried thyme. Cook another couple of minutes until soft. Add the porcini mushrooms and cook another minute. Meanwhile, place the Swiss mushrooms into the bowl of your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and saute until cooked. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved porcini soaking liquid and cook, stirring often, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Place the walnuts and cashews into the bowl of the food processor and blitz until they form a fairly fine, crumbly paste (not a nut butter, not a crumb, somewhere in between). Add the mushroom mixture and parsley, a splash of olive oil and blend until smooth but not a liquid. It will be a medium-stiff paste. Remove the blade and give it a good mix with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the truffle to your desired truffliness. Place into a covered dish/jar in the fridge to chill for at least a couple of hours before serving. If you want to serve it fancy style rather than in a dish, line a bowl with glad wrap before pressing the pate in, then turn out onto a plate. Serve with thin slices of toasted baguette.