RECIPE: Mountain Lentil and Mushroom Paté

by - February 06, 2009

Right, this sounds a bit hippy doesn't it but I promise this is packed with flavour and is a moreish paté that would be ideal as a vegetarian or vegan starter. It's also great in sandwiches or on toast as a snack - I even served some with pan fried spinach infused with garlic and chili. And it's easy on the waist too!

I used some gorgeous, super tiny Italian mountain lentils which are much harder and take longer to cook but I don't see why plain ol' green lentils wouldn't be just as good.

This paté was created as a sneaky beaky way of making my OH eat these nutritious lentils as he turns his nose up at them normally. Pleased to report that he wolfed down practically the whole batch with demands for a remake. (I get them all in the end...)

Serves 4-6 as a starter

Half a mug of lentils (I used organic Italian mountain lentils but green ones would be good too)
1 tbs olive oil
2 long shallots or 1 medium onion, finely sliced
200g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
Bullion or stock
One garlic clove
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp tahini paste
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped oregano
1 tsp chopped thyme

Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and add a good teaspoon of bullion or use stock. Add a whole clove of garlic and heat until boiling. Reduce to a simmer and leave for 30-40 minutes until soft. You may need to top up the water if this dries out. The cooking time will vary depending on the variety of lentil you choose.

Thinly slice the onions then fry in the olive oil. Once softened add the chestnut mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the balsamic vinegar, tahini and herbs and cook for 3 minutes.

Drain the lentils and reserve the remaining stock. Using a mini chopper or food processor, blitz the lentils (including that garlic clove) and mushroom mix until you get a coarse paste. If the mixture is too dry add some of the reserved stock to get a firm but moist consistency. You may need to do this in batches if using a mini chopper. Taste for seasoning, depending on your stock you may not need any extra.

Place in a shallow dish or airtight container and chill until needed. This keeps for about 3 days in the fridge and is better the day after cooking as the flavours have had time to get acquainted.

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