Monday, November 20, 2006

The Wedding Frenzy: French Lentil Pâté

Martha Stewart strikes again. This pate takes very little time to make, and has a terrific flavor. The non-vegetarians kept asking what went into it, because it has a pretty hearty flavor for a vegetarian dish.

French Lentil Pâté

1 cup French green lentils
2 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium vegetable broth
½ onion, cut into 3 wedges
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tsps coarse salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 oz of thinly sliced shallots (about 1 ½ cups)
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced ( about 3 ½ cups)
1/3 cup dry sherry
½ cup toasted hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, whites finely chopped (yolks reserved for another use)

Bring lentils, stock, 1 ¾ cups water, the onion, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper to a boil in the medium saucepan. Reduce heat, simmer, adding water as needed (about ½ cup at a time) to prevent lentils from drying out, until they are tender, about 30 minutes. Discard onion, thyme, and bay leaf; set lentils aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until golden 10 to 12 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until mushrooms have softened completely and shallots are deep golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add sherry, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Remove from heat.

Reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of shallot mixture for garnish, refrigerate covered until ready to use. Process remaining shallot mixture, the lentils and nuts in a food processor until coarsely combined. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the egg whites.

Line a 5 by 10 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches to hang over each long side. Spoon lentil mixture into pan and fold plastic over the top. Top with another loaf pan filled with heavy cans. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, unwrap top and invert onto a platter. Bring to room temperature. Garnish with reserved shallot mixture and thyme sprigs. Serve with bread or crackers.

From Martha Stewart Living, Nov 2006

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