Recipe of the month – walnut and mushroom pate

This was a hit on our Albany to Denmark tour!  Rich, smooth and creamy, with a hint of bitterness from the walnuts, it’s perfect served alongside cheeses, crackers and fruit.  The recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks ‘Veganomicon’ by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero.  Through her books, Isa has introduced me to tarragon and I love her for it.  It’s a mysterious herb which is hard to describe and but what I do know is that it takes some dishes to a whole new level.

Makes about 2.5 cups.  Takes about 30 minutes.

3 Tbs olive oil
1 cup diced brown onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
3/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
450 grams mushrooms, chopped (I used Swiss brown)
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans
1.5 tsp balsamic vinegar
Up to 1/4 cup cold vegetable broth

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic, thyme, tarragon, salt and pepper, and cook for another minute. Next add the mushrooms and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until they are very soft, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent them from burning.While the mushrooms are cooking, place the walnuts in a food processor or blender and process until very fine.

Add the cooked mushroom mixture to the walnuts in the food processor, along with the balsamic vinegar, beans and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Process until smooth, adding the vegetable broth 1 tablepspoon at a time as needed. Continue to puree the ingredients until the pate resembles a smooth, thick and spreadable paste. Scrape mixture into an airtight container and chill for at least an hour before serving, to allow the flavours to meld.

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