Red Lentil Pâté

Submitted by: Courtney
Recipe by: Adapted from a Cooking Light Recipe

Red lentils seasoned with Mediterranean herbs quickly melt down into a savory puree. When chilled, the mixture firms up into an elegant pâté. Like most pâtés, this one ages and keeps well, so you can count on enjoying it for a week or more.

Use two 2-cup mini-loaf pans. Unmold the pate and serve it whole on a buffet platter, or set slices on individual plates. For an appetizer or light lunch, serve the pate with a small salad of mixed greens and a variety of accompaniments.

1-1/2 cups finely diced onions
1 cup finely diced shallots
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, gently crushed in a mortar or under a chef’s knife
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine (or broth or water)
3 cups water
1-1/2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
Spray the bottom and sides of the loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot, heat some water/broth or spray with non-stick spray. Cook the onions and shallots over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the fennel, thyme, garlic, and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add the wine/broth/water and scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until most of the wine evaporates, about 30 seconds.

Add the water, lentils, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and continue cooking until the lentils have melted into a coarse puree, 10 to 20 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasonings.

Stir well, smashing any whole lentils onto the sides of the pot to create a fairly smooth, thick mixture, with a texture similar to oatmeal. If the puree is loose and soupy, boil it uncovered, stirring frequently, until it thickens.

Ladle the puree immediately into the prepared loaf pans. Smooth the top with a spatula. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

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