Top | The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations
(recipe, Kim O'Donnel)
This little number is inspired by chicken-liver terrine, a French brasserie and Jewish delicatessen classic. Replicating the same technique and flavor notes from a passed-down recipe, I swap out the livers for legumes. I won't say you can trick your chicken liver-loving pals, but you will astonish them.
- 1 cup dried brown or green lentils
- 3 cups water
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- ½ to ¾ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced shallots (about 4 bulbs)
- ¼ cup bourbon or cognac (booze-free option: apple cider)
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (from at least 2 sprigs)
- ½ tsp. grated nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the lentils, water, and garlic in a medium 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 ½ teaspoon of the salt.
- While the lentils cook, melt the butter in a 9- or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, stir to coat with the butter, and cook until thick, jam-like, and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Lower the heat if the shallots begin 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 ¼ 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 add 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.