Sandwiches / Starters / Vegetables

Herbed Mushroom Pâté

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This is one of those recipes where I stare at a bunch of other recipes and make something up on the spot because I’m seriously too lazy to shop for ingredients. But trust me, this is good. I survived an entire week spreading this on sandwiches because, well, I just bought a new laptop and I’m feeling desperately poor right now.

Now, a pâté is traditionally a sort of spreadable meat paste; this mushroom pâté is a vegetarian alternative. Naturally, it has neither the firm texture nor the depth of flavour of, let’s say, a liver pâté. The predominant flavour here is, of course, thyme. And possibly cream cheese. And mushrooms, obviously. I’ve been meaning to cook something like this for the longest time, ever since I saw a recipe in this vegetarian cookbook my mom bought (and after finishing an entire jar of rabbit terrine that I bought in Cassis last year). The fact that random experimentation actually resulted in something more than merely edible makes me very happy (as compared to the scientific sort of experimentation, which I am now fairly sure I am rather terrible at). Besides, the best thing about pâtés is that they’re pretty versatile: serve them as a starter, spread them on bread or crackers or serve them with salads.

I’ve used oyster and shiitake mushrooms in this recipe because I’ve seen a few recipes that make use of them (as opposed to the more conventional button or chestnut mushrooms). I suppose it makes sense, in a way, since these mushrooms have a stronger flavour, which is what you really want in this case.

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Herbed Mushroom Pâté
Serves 4

50 g unsalted butter, sliced
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
100 g shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
150 g oyster mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp dry white wine
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
100 g cream cheese

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Then turn up the heat slightly and add the onions and garlic, stir-frying until the onions become translucent, stirring often. Take care not to burn the garlic. Turn up the heat again, adding the mushrooms and cooking till tender and the juices evaporate. Stir in the thyme and add the dry white wine; wait for the wine to bubble away and evaporate. Then stir in the mustard and cream cheese. Turn off the heat and season generously with salt and black pepper. Wait for the mixture to cool slightly before whizzing it in a food processor. Transfer the finished pâté to ramekins or a large bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours to allow the flavours to develop. Having said that, I think the pâté tastes best after a day or two. Spread on crackers or eat on its own.

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