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Vegetarian Pate With Mushrooms And Cashews

Vegetarian Pate With Mushrooms And Cashews
Julie O'Hara for NPR /

Similar in appearance to the chicken liver mousse, this nutritious veggie version has the taste of meaty mushrooms, creamy cashews, brandy and fresh herbs. If you want to add a hit of sweetness and holiday color, stir dried currants soaked in orange juice and brandy into the finished pate. I like to make half with currants and half without.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

1 cup black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

3/4 cup raw cashews

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup diced carrot

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped

1/2 pound white mushrooms, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons brandy

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

3/4 cup dried currants soaked in 1 cup orange juice and 2 tablespoons brandy for 30 minutes (optional)

Drain beans, discarding soaking liquid, and add to a large, heavy pot. Add enough water to cover beans by 1 inch. Do not add salt, as it will slow the cooking process. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are very tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain beans.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread cashews on a baking sheet and roast 10 minutes, or until lightly browned, tossing once about halfway through.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until mushrooms start to release their liquid. Increase heat to medium high and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are lightly browned and liquid evaporates.

Add the beans, cashews and mushroom mixture to a food processor. Add the brandy, soy sauce and herbs. Process until mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You should need about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt.

If you are using the currants, drain them and pat dry. Transfer pate to a large bowl and stir in the currants. Transfer pate to ramekins, mason jars or other serving dish. Chill for 8 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature with crudites, baguette slices or crackers. Pate will keep in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

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