I suppose I should be writing something about the festive season and how festive it was (it wasn’t really, but it was better than 2020) and/or what I’m resolving for the New Year. Resolutions seem moot given the curved ball that is Covid, and which has derailed the last resolutions I made at the beginning of 2020. Perhaps, instead of resolutions, there is a smidgen of hope.
In the meantime…
It’s no secret that I am very fond of things mushroom. It’s also no secret that I’m constantly on the look out for plant-based dishes that I could add to my repertoire(s) at home and at the market. This recipe was a lucky find for two, no, three, reasons: it’s a great market product, flavour combinations are heavenly and, best of all, it’s versatile.
A restauranteur friend of ours, is of the opinion that fresh mushrooms have no flavour. Years ago, he shared his secret for flavour: mushroom soup – the powdered version. I didn’t understand. With hindsight, I realise that quality mushroom soop powder should have a goodly quanity of dried mushrooms. Now they do have flavour.
I’ve always, and instinctively avoided raw mushrooms. They have no flavour and worse, if they get wet develop the worst kind of slimy texture. A pet peeve: mushroom slices in a green salad. Pickled mushrooms? Well, that kind of
slimy silky texture I’ll take any day. As a matter of fact, that reminds me of a salad that the chef at the hotel where I worked for a university vacation used to make, and which I must try to replicate (again) and write down next time we have a surfeit of mushrooms.
This pâté is a slow cook that both combines and develops deep flavours. The combination and the process.
Chunky Mushroom Pâté
- skillet or wok
- serving dish or 4 ramekin dishes
- 15 ml olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 500g mushrooms, sliced
- 15ml fresh thyme, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 60g nuts (pecan, walnut, almond)*
- 125ml dry white wine
- In a large skillet (use a wok), sauté the onion and garlic until glossy and beginning to caramelise, 7 to 10 minutes.15 ml olive oil, 1 medium onion, diced, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat until the liquid from the mushroom has evaporated, 18 to 20 minutes.500g mushrooms, sliced, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Add the wine and turn up the heat and simmer until the liquid evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes.125ml dry white wine
- Then transfer mushroom mixture to a food processor, add the nuts and another tablespoon of olive oil. Blend for about 30 seconds, until the mixture is as smooth or as chunky as you would like.60g nuts (pecan, walnut, almond)*, 15 ml olive oil
- Pot into a single bowl or three or four ramekin dishes. Chill before serving.
I mentioned that this is a versatile product. It is, for two reasons: the pate makes a great addition to a plant-based tapas platter (some say it’s a great substitute for chicken liver pâté. Others vehemently disagree. I tend to make it a little chunky which makes it fabulous to stir through pasta. Which brings me to my next point.
The process is the real secret
Mushrooms are like good wine and cheese: they need time to develop their flavour. If you read the recipe properly, the mushrooms are effectively cooked twice: the first time to release and allow all the liquid to reduce and effectively cook out. The second after adding the white wine which is also reduced so that there is little if no liquid left. While this is going on the onion caramelises, softens and releases its sugars. With the addition of garlic and fresh thyme, I’ve begun using this process for our regular pasta night.
The mixture is not puréed as it is for the pâté, but rather left chunky and the nuts are optional. With a good glug (or two) of olive oil, a bit more fresh thyme and a Parmesan style cheese. Or not.
Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa
If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
- re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I am adding them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
- and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts.
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