I used to love pate – just the deep flavour, and the great mouthfeel of crunchy little toasties and smooth pate. I kept reading lentil pate recipes (though I cannot find any of those damn recipes in any of my cookbooks now!!) and thinking that I really should give that a bash one of these days. I had a fantastic lentil pate at a vegetarian café in the
So here’s my version – it’s best eaten the next day, after the flavours have been given a chance to meld and deepen.
2 x 400g cans of brown lentils (it’s very important to use brown lentils, as they provide the best flavour and texture), drained
1 large onion, chopped finely
Garlic, minced (to taste, and optional)
Fresh herbs – you can use any combination you wish as long as it contains parsley. I find the best earthy flavours come from a mix of tarragon, sage and parsley.
Vinegar – red wine or cider, but not balsamic
Seasoning salt (optional)
Flaxseed (linseed) oil (optional)
Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. The best flavour comes from a well cooked and almost caramelized onion, so you’ll be doing this for a while!! Deglaze the frying pan with a splash of vinegar, and stir the onion around until the liquid cooks off. Add the peppercorns – I generally use at least two to three teaspoons of peppercorns – and another splash of vinegar. Stir the onion and peppercorns around until the liquid cooks off. Add the garlic at this point (if using), and another little splash of vinegar, and stir everything until the liquid cooks off. Pour in the drained lentils, and deglaze with a little more vinegar. Stir to mix everything thoroughly, and cook until the liquid has cooked off again. Turn off the heat, and set aside the mix to cool.
Roughly chop the herbs – I like to use a fair amount of herbs: a handful of tarragon and sage, and about double that of parsley.
When the lentils have cooled, pour them into a food processor. Pulse for a minute to combine, and then drop in the fresh herbs. Process until the mixture has become a paste. Add about 1 ½ tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and a little splash of vinegar if the mix is too dry. It should be a firm yet moist paste.
From this point onwards, it’s really all about tasting and adjusting the seasoning (nutritional yeast/vinegar/pepper/salt) to your own tastes. Remember that, when left overnight, the flavours will meld more, and the vinegar especially will come forward in the taste.
When the seasoning is done to your satisfaction, drizzle in a little flaxseed oil – this adds a beautiful creamy aftertaste to the pate. This is an optional step.
Spoon the mixture into a container to cool – if you want to get all fancy pants, line the container with plastic wrap (enough to wrap over the top again), and drop in some whole peppercorns and herbs in a pretty pattern. Spread the mixture on top of the peppercorns and herbs, and bring the edges of the plastic wrap up to cover the top of the pate.
Leave to cool, and either turn out the pate onto another plate (if going the fancy pants route), or leave in the container. Serve with little toasties and optional Nuttelex.
Share and enjoy!