food Program

Lentil Pâté

Contributed by Kim O'Donnel, from the Real Food Right Now series.

1 cup dried brown or green lentils
3 cups water
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
12 to 34 tsp salt, plus more to taste
4 tbsp butter
1 cup peeled and thinly sliced shallot (about 4 bulbs)
14 cup bourbon or cognac  (booze-free option: apple cider)
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (from at least 2 sprigs)
12 tsp grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the lentils, water, and garlic in a medium-size saucepan. The water should be about 2 inches above the lentils. Add more as needed. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook at a simmer until tender to the bite, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with 12 teaspoon of the salt.

While the lentils cook, melt the butter in a 9- or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, stir  to coat with the butter, and cook until thick, jam-like, and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Lower the heat if the shallot begins to char. Increase the heat and add the booze (or apple cider), allowing it to evaporate, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the rosemary, nutmeg, and the remaining 14 teaspoon of the salt, then turn off the heat.

Drain the lentils and transfer to a baking sheet to cool in a single layer for 10 minutes. Make sure you bring along the cooked garlic.

Transfer the shallot mixture to the bowl of a food processor or stand blender and blend, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the lentils and garlic, and blend until you have a creamy mixture with as few lumps as possible.

Season with the black pepper to taste (and more salt if needed), and scoop into a 4-inch ramekin or four-edged dish. (The spread looks more pâtélike in a shaped dish than freestyle  in a cereal bowl.) Place in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes; the pâté deepens in flavor when slightly chilled.

Serve with toast points or baguette slices, or with carrot, celery, or jicama sticks, or endive leaves.

Makes a little over 2 cups pâté.

Learn more about rosemary and thyme in Kim’s full post on Ecocentric Blog.