Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Mushroom and Kidney Bean Paté

This is an ideal vegetarian starter which if you substitute vegan spread for butter, easily becomes a vegan starter. It's packed with flavour and the butter content gives it a smooth texture making it easy to spread on toast. We've had such a mild Winter, I still have fresh watercress in the garden.

For this recipe, (serves 6 to 8) you will need;
500gm of mushrooms
250gm of cooked red kidney beans
130gm of shallots
100gm of unsalted butter
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of marsala or dry sherry
1 tablespoon of oil
black pepper
1 teaspoon of Marigold Bouillon powder or 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme.

Begin by slicing the mushroom and frying over a medium heat in the oil. If you want to get the full flavour of mushrooms it is essential to fry them until you achieve a nice brown caramelisation, see the photograph. There is never any need to increase the amount of oil when frying, if the mushrooms, which are naturally absorbent, seem to have dried out the pan simply throw in a tablespoon of water, this creates steam and the absorbed oil will be released. De-glaze the pan with the marsala and add the chopped shallots. Continue to cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, add the garlic and after another 2 minutes put a lid on the pan and switch off the heat. This helps to ensure the shallots and garlic are fully cooked.
Place the cooked kidney beans, butter, thyme, seasoning (bouillon powder and pepper) and mushroom mixture in a food processor and process on pulse until the mixture is as fine as you like. Personally I like it a little coarse, but it's possible to process until you have a totally smooth paté.
Chill, for 4 hours, either in a single container or in small ramekins to serve.

High colour when cooking mushrooms ensures a strong umami flavour

You can vary the flavour of this paté very easily, by using different beans. I used chestnuts the last time I made it. You can also use wild mushrooms or a combination of wild and not so wild mushrooms. Use Sage or oregano instead of thyme if you fancy. As with many of my recipes, this should act as a foundation for experiment.