Wild Mushroom Pâté
This delicious pâté is always a big hit on our foraging courses, served with good crusty bread and a wild salad. Non-vegans can replace the olive oil with butter, for an even richer result.
- 500g mixed fresh mushrooms (a combination of wild and cultivated is fine)
- 2g dried mushrooms (about 8 pieces), soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
- 300g red lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 red onion
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ stick celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 80g chopped hazelnuts (about 2 handfuls)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean and trim the fresh mushrooms and cut them into small chunks.
- Lift the dried mushrooms from their soaking liquid, squeezing out any excess water into the bowl. Finely chop the dried mushroms and set aside. Transfer the soaking water into a measuring jug, pouring slowly to leave behind any grit and discarding the last tablespoonful or so. Add enough water to the mushroom soaking liquid to make up the volume to 750ml.
- Put the lentils into a pan with the bay leaves and pour over the mushrooms stock. Bring to a boil and simmer gently, for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft with no liquid left in the pan. (Sparingly add a little more water if the lentils dry out before they are fully cooked.)
- Meanwhile, halve the red onion: finely chop one half, and set the other half aside. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a wide frying pan and add the chopped onion, celery and soaked dried mushrooms. Cook over a low to medium heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, the leaves from one sprig of thyme and the fresh mushrooms, and raise the heat. Toss the mushrooms to coat with the oil then allow them to cook for about 8 minutes until they begin to take on some colour. Turn the mushrooms and cook for another 8 minutes or so, until they are lightly browned and any juices in the pan have been evaporated. Allow the mushroom mixture to cool slightly before blending until smooth in either a liquidizer or using a hand blender.
- When lentils are cooked, allow to cool slightly then remove the bay leaves and blend until smooth. Stir in the mushroom mixture, along with in the lemon juice, nutmeg and hazelnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the pâté in a serving dish (or dishes) and leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, slice the remaining half of red onion. Heat the last tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion slices slowly until brown and crisp. Lift them with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper and leave to cool.
- Top with the pâté with the cooled fried onions and scatter with the remaining thyme. Chill for an hour so to firm up before serving.
Recipe by Wild Food UK; development and photos by Otherwise