“No animals were harmed in the preparation of this pâté.” This is an appropriate disclaimer for this vegetarian foie gras or faux gras. The mushroom, nuts, and lentil-based spread, topped with a piece of pickled garlic, is so delicious and very healthy.
Faux gras pâté
The idea for faux gras or vegetarian foie gras came from a great book called “Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic“. I expanded on the original recipe, giving it complexity to at least equal (arguably) actual foie gras. The dried forest mushrooms are packed with umami and bring an incredible aroma and flavour. This is layered on the earthiness of the lentils, nuts, and tahini to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
Lentils and mushrooms work so well together. Their combination results in a satisfying texture and a deep flavour. Another recipe based on this magic combination are these lentil, stout, and mushroom turnovers.
So many recipes on delectabilia include garlic in some form. Roasted, sautéed, black, and here… pickled. This garlic stuffed chicken dish includes three different forms of garlic – black, roasted, and raw. The pickling process greatly subdues the harsh component of raw garlic that puts many people off as with roasted and black garlic. It leaves a bright, fresh sensation that perfectly complements the rich complexity of the faux gras. A perfectly balanced mouthful!
Faux gras and pickled garlic on baguette
- 1 head of garlic with consistently sized cloves
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 Tbsp crushed chilli flakes
- 30 g dried forest mushrooms or dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 onion finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic finel diced
- 300 g button mushrooms white or brown
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 30 g butter
- 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
- 1 cup water
- 4 dates pips removed
- 1/2 cup walnuts or cashew nuts
- 1 juice of a lime
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp tahini or peanut butter
- 1/4 cup finely diced parsley
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp agar powder
- Baguettes or sour dough bread
Prepare the dried mushrooms
- Rinse the dried mushrooms in warm water for a minute or two to dislodge any dust or grit.
- Lift the mushrooms from the water and discard the water.
- Add 1 cup hot water and the mushrooms to a bowl.
- Allow to sit for na hour, stirring occasionally.
- Lift the mushrooms out of the water.
- Strain the mushroom water through muslin or a coffee filter. Retain for the lentils.
Cooking the lentils
- Add 1/2 cup dry lentils, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup (or thereabouts) of mushroom water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Drain if there is any remains liquid.
- Prepare a bowl of water and ice cubes.
- Separate the cloves from the head of garlic.
- Blanch in boiling water for 90 seconds.
- Plunge into the ice bath.
- Heat the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan until the salt and sugar is dissolved.
- Remove the garlic cloves from their skins and add the cloves to a clean jar.
- Add the fennel seeds, peppercorns, and chilli flakes to the jar.
- Pour over the vinegar mixture. The garlic should be covered by at least 1 cm. If there is insufficient liquid, add 1/2 cup 50-50 vinegar water mixture.
- Cover and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours before using.
- Soak the dried forest mushrooms in a cup of hot water for 30 minutes.
- Agitate the mushrooms occasionally to dislodge any grit.
- Lift out the rehydrated mushrooms without disturbing any grit that may have settled to the bottom.
- Pour the top 3/4 cup of the liquid into another container, discarding the remaining quarter and grit.
- Rinse the lentils using a sieve.
- In a saucepan add the 1/2 cup of lentils,1 cup water, and 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Drain.
- Peel and dice the onion and garlic.
- Clean, trim, and dice the button mushrooms.
- Heat a skillet or fry pan to medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil and butter. When melted, add the finely diced onion. Sauté until transparent.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (3 or 4 minutes).
- Add the diced button mushrooms and rehydrated mushrooms. Stir fry until the moisture released from the mushrooms has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
- In a blender, add the sautéed onion and mushrooms, drained lentils, dates, walnuts, lime juice, soy sauce, tahini, parsley, salt, paprika, and black pepper. Blend in a food processor until reasonably smooth.
- Line a loaf tin with grease-proof paper and pour the blended mixture into it.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the faux gras from the refrigerator and allow to come up to room temperature.
- Remove the garlic cloves from the pickling liquid and dice into halves.
- Toast slices of baguette or sour dough bread.
- Spread on some faux gras, then top with pickled garlic.