Cook the Book: Creamy Mushroom P\u00e2t\u00e9

Shiitake mushrooms. Photograph by marcelo träsel on Flickr

Let me begin by saying that I love pâté. Mousses, terrines, galantines, rillettes, even the ubiquitous liverwurst. Give me some toast points and a few cornichons and I am in heaven.

So what am I doing writing about pâté during a week of vegetarian recipes? Well, this Creamy Mushroom Pâté is the closest approximation to a spreadable meat in Carol Gelles' 100 Best Vegetarian Recipes—minus the liver, of course.

Gellles has succeeded in creating a spread that rivals a meat-based pâté in both its rich deliciousness and calorie count. If you've ever tried making charcuterie at home you know this is no small undertaking. This mushroom pâté came together in about 15 minutes, hours less then my last attempt at a pork terrine. The wild mushrooms have an earthy unctuousness made all the more decadent by a healthy (or not) dose of butter, plenty of cream cheese, and heavy cream. In addition to the fresh parsley, I swapped the dried savory for some fresh thyme. This imparted the pâté with a wonderful herby freshness. Don't go crazy finely chopping the mushrooms—I've found that leaving the pieces slightly chunky lends a wonderful texture to the finished pâté.

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Cook the Book: Creamy Mushroom Pâté

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About This Recipe

Yield:6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 cups finely chopped wild mushrooms (shiitake, porcini, Portobello)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried savory or thyme
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into 8 cubes
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Procedures

  1. 1

    Melt the butter or margarine in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. 2

    Add the shallots; cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until any mushroom liquid has evaporated. Stir in the parsley and savory; cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

  3. 3

    Remove from the heat. Stir in the cream cheese, 1 ounce at a time, until melted and completely combined. Stir in heavy cream. Chill.

  4. 4

    Variation: Mushroom Tartlets: Spoon a rounded teaspoonful of the spread into baked 1-inch tartlet shells. Makes about 40.

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