Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hope your Thanksgiving was happy!

So what was your favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table this year? As crazy as it sounds, I think mine was peas sauteed in butter with mint--I'd never had it before, and amid the well-executed Thanksgiving standards something a little different really stood out.

But this mushroom-lentil pate wasn't half bad either. Here's how to show the vegetarians at your next holiday gathering that you love them, too:

Mushroom-Lentil Pate
Adapted from The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon*

This really needs to be made a day ahead of time--when it's first made it's rather bland, but after a night in the refrigerator the flavors really get going.

*Also, yes, that really is her name. I'm going to level with you, it's totally a hippie cookbook. But there are three or four recipes in there that we just keep coming back to again and again. Give pate a chance, man!

2/3 C. brown lentils

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. mushrooms (I used 1/2 lb. white and 1/2 lb. crimini)
3 cloves garlic

1/4 C. tahini
1/4 C. nutritional yeast
2 to 3 Tbsp cognac or brandy
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Cook the lentils in water to cover until they are very tender. When they are done, drain them if they are very wet. This step can be done ahead of time.

Heat the butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the carrot and onion and saute until the vegetables are softened. Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms and chop them roughly. Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes more. Peel the garlic and put it through a garlic press into the pan. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are very tender and their water has evaporated. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Combine the lentils, mushroom mixture, and remaining ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth and pate-like. Don't be afraid to use a generous hand with the salt--I added between 1/2 and 1 tsp.

Refrigerate overnight so that the flavors can blend. Serve at room temperature, on crackers or crostini.

Makes about 3 cups.

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