This is my last blog for 2011 – so I wanted to offer something festive looking that isn’t too rich, given the over-stuffed feeling most of us will be suffering from this month – a lovely wild mushroom and walnut pâté with glazed cranberries.
It’s suitable for vegetarians and pretty enough for a special cocktail party or as an appetizer for a festive dinner. The cranberries aren’t too sweet and make a great contrast to the delicate mushroom pâté.
Make it no more than 4 days ahead – Merry Christmas!
WILD MUSHROOM & WALNUT PATE WITH GLAZED CRANBERRIES
(Makes 3 cups / 700ml)
1 oz (25g) dried porcini mushrooms (available from Italian deli’s and good supermarkets)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
18 oz (500g) mixture of wild fresh mushrooms (or portabellas/chestnut mushrooms) cleaned and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of ½ a lemon (plus extra in case it needs it)
4.5 oz (100g) ricotta
2/3 cup (150ml) crème fraîche or sour cream
4.5 oz (100g) toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (8 minutes in a 375F/ 190C oven should do it)
2 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
Put the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain. Squeeze out as much water from the mushrooms as possible and roughly chop them. (You can use the soaking liquid in a gravy or sauce).
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the shallots for 10 minutes over a low heat until soft and translucent. Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan, along with the porcini, garlic and a grind of salt and pepper. Cook over a moderate heat for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and lightly golden and all the liquid has evaporated. Cool.
Put the mushroom mixture into a food processor along with the lemon juice, ricotta and crème fraîche or sour cream – blend until smooth.
Finally add the toasted walnuts and pulse briefly. Fold in the parsley, taste and add more lemon juice, salt and pepper if necessary.
Spoon into a dish or individual ramekins; cover and chill until firm.
9 oz (250g) of fresh or frozen cranberries
2 oz (60g) fine white/caster sugar
A splash of water
4 tbsp of redcurrant jelly
Put the cranberries in a pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Add a splash of water and cook over a low heat just until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until the cranberries are tender but before the skins start to split. Gently strain the berries through a sieve and collect the juices.
In a separate pan, melt the redcurrant jelly with the reserved cranberry juices – don’t allow it to boil.
Arrange the cooled cranberries neatly on top of the mushroom pâté and brush thickly with the redcurrant glaze.
The pâté will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.