It may be a bit unfashionable and outdated, but I really like pâté. Not the meaty kind of course, but vegetarian and fish pâtés can be really tasty, and they make a great starter, canape, snack or sandwich filling. After ending up with an excess of mushrooms the other day I decided to make something a little different with them and whipped up this tasty vegetarian mushroom pâté.
It is very easy to make – just a little bit of chopping and frying then bung everything in a food processor. I did go the extra step of making a gelée to go on top of the pâté; simply using the liquid left over from soaking the porcini with a dash of soy sauce and vegetarian gelatin to set. It is totally unnecessary and doesn’t add a huge amount in terms of flavour but it does make the pâté look more interesting (it is basically brown sludge after all) and is very easy to make; feel free to not bother with it if you prefer though.
- 25 g (1oz) dried porcini mushrooms
- 300 ml (1 + 1/4 cups) boiling water
- 2 shallots (or one small brown onion) finely chopped
- 30 g (2tbsp) butter
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 250 g (9oz) chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 150 g (5oz) full fat cream cheese
- salt and pepper
- 200 ml (3/4 cup + 1tbsp) of the porcini soaking liquid
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp vegetarian gelatin
Pour the boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and set aside for at least 20 minutes until soft.
Meanwhile, place the butter in a pan over a low heat and add the chopped shallots, cook for about 10 minutes until soft then add the crushed garlic, sliced mushrooms and thyme leaves. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms are soft and the juices have all evaporated.
Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Roughly chop them then place in a food processor along with the cooked mushroom and onion mix.
Blitz until everything is very finely chopped and has formed a paste then add the cream cheese and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Blend again until smooth then taste and add more seasoning as required. The flavours will be less pronounced when cold so make sure you don't under-season.
Divide the pâté between two jars, leaving enough room in the top for the jelly (if you are making it) and spread it level. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
To make the jelly, measure out 200ml of the liquid left over from soaking the porcini into a small pan; the liquid should be cold at this point. Stir in the soy sauce and vegetarian gelatin.
Place the pan on the heat and bring up to the boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly then pour it over the top of the pâté and return to the fridge for another couple of hours. Be aware that the vegetarian gelatin sets very quickly so keep an eye on it and just let it cool enough that it has stopped steaming. If it does set in the pan not to worry, it can simply be returned to the heat and stirred until it has melted again.
Keep the pâté refrigerated and eat within one week.