Although I love cooking for others, I also enjoy cooking for myself. For example earlier this year my husband was away for a few days, leaving me a solo empty nester for a couple days. As part of the trip fell on a weekend day, not only would I be having dinner alone, but I’d have extra time to work on making it. I know for a lot of people time alone equals time to go out to dinner or order delivery, but I was excited to have time to cook for just me. I made baked eggplant stuffed with ricotta and homemade pesto. I had a book from the library, yummy food, and some wine, which equals a great evening if I’m going to be alone.
I don’t only think about foods I like when I’m alone. I think about them when I’m making our tapas menus. Usually I try to find items that will please both of us, but sometimes I make dishes that I know heavily favor only one of us. This paté is one of those dishes. My husband is a polite eater of legumes, and that’s about it. However, I wondered if I delivered them in a different manner would he like them more.
I’ve read many recipes for faux gras and vegetarian patés and thought it was about time for me to give one a try. The faux gras seemed like a hard sell. Real foie gras is probably on my husband’s top ten list and has a distinctive taste. Even if the recipe were anywhere near similar, I was sure it would disappoint. Paté, on the other hand, comes a variety of flavors and textures, so I thought I had a better chance of selling that dish.
After reading many recipes, I learned that I could make it with veggies, legumes, or some combination thereof. I decided to go with the hybrid route, using lentils and mushrooms. I figured the lentils would provide the texture I was seeking and mushrooms would offer a kind of meaty flavor.
When I served this paté, I was honest; I knew it wouldn’t present as a pork (or other animal) product. Knowing what he was about to eat, my husband put a generous spoonful on a cracker. Surprisingly he not only ate a bit to be a good dinner companion, he continued to eat it because he liked it. The pretend paté had an earthy flavor and was delicious served on whole wheat crackers, flatbread, or crostini.
You may not convince a carnivore that it’s a meat dish, but you also might convince him or her that vegetarian isn’t all that bad.
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- ¾ cup diced yellow onion
- 10 oz. baby bellas, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried sage
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 Tb. cognac
- ½ Tb. soy sauce
- Salt & pepper
- Bring lentils and water to gentle boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until tender. (Most or all of the water should be absorbed.)
- Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes; stir in rosemary, thyme, and sage.
- Place mushroom mixture, 1-½ cups lentils, and walnuts in food processor. (Reserve remaining lentils for another recipe.)
- Add cognac and soy sauce, and blend on high until fairly smooth.
- Transfer to a covered container, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Serve with crackers, flatbread, or crostini.