Seasonal – Savory – Scrumptious
By Nancy Eisman
Growing up I ate a conventional diet, but eventually gave up animal products for ethical reasons. From time to time I would have a craving for something from the past, and now thanks to food companies that produce plant-based versions, if I want to I can have a hot dog, burger, BLT, grilled cheese, etc., etc.
In the course of my plant-based journey I have also collected and modified recipes of old favorites, one of which is that Jewish food staple, chopped liver. My friend Julie shared her recipe for faux CL, a.k.a. faux paté, many years ago, and it’s become a staple in my repertoire. I’ve made a small tweak, replacing onions with savory shallots, and in addition to using it as an appetizer, I also love it as a sandwich spread (with brown mustard and sliced red onion).
Everyone is familiar with using beans for hummus and dips, so it won’t surprise you too much that the star of this faux pate’ is Melissa’s Ready-to-Use Lentils. Their earthiness and color is spot on, and when combined with sautéed, slightly sweet shallots and deeply rich porcini mushrooms (rehydrated from dried), the texture and flavor is an amazing recreation of the original.
Covered with roasted hazelnuts (more tweaks), and surrounded with assorted crostini, crackers, and chips, this faux paté will make a unique, healthy, delicious, and plant-based appetizer to serve for Thanksgiving or any special occasion.
Porcini Mushroom and Lentil Paté
1 package (½ ounce) Melissa’s Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
3 Melissa’s Shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon Margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 package Melissa’s Lentils
2 tablespoons Margarine
2 tablespoons soaking liquid from Mushrooms
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 package Melissa’s Hazelnuts, toasted and ground
½ Red Onion, diced
To rehydrate the porcini mushrooms, place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.
Put the vegetable oil in a sauté pan and turn the heat to medium. Add the chopped shallots and sauté 2-3 minutes. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and then add the mushrooms to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of margarine, stir to combine, and cook another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, turn off the heat, and let cool.
Rinse the lentils under running water, drain off excess water, and then place the lentils in a food processor. Pulse the lentils to break down the structure, add the shallot/mushroom mixture, 1½ tablespoons of mushroom liquid, and process until incorporated. Add the 2 tablespoons of margarine (this is for flavor and texture) and pulse again until incorporated. Season the mixture with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Mound the paté in a serving bowl and cover with ground hazelnuts. Serve with bread, crackers, and chips of your choice, along with diced red onion for extra pizzazz.