A Cornish girl's food adventures

Porcini, Chestnut & Mushroom Pate

My mum had a special birthday on New Years Eve. I’m not going to tell you how old she was but it was the kind of birthday that you make a fuss over. Having a a birthday on New Year’s Eve isn’t as great as it might sound, yes you’re never short of a party to go to but none of those parties are just for you and if you want a party of your own then everybody’s already got other plans! This year we decided to get together and cook a fancy three course dinner for her and we kicked things off with this delicious, luxurious pate and some fresh bread, baked by my brother.

serves 6
10g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 70ml of hot water
25g butter
1/2 onion
150g chestnut mushrooms
100g peeled, cooked chestnuts
25ml brandy
3 tbsp whipping cream
few sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
a few shavings of black truffle (optional and only if you’re feeling extravagant!)

Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms in the hot water and set them aside.
Finely dice the onion and gently fry it in the butter. You want it to be soft but not too coloured. Wipe the chestnut mushrooms with a piece of damp kitchen roll and then roughly chop them. Add them to the frying pan and gently cook them. Roughly chop the chestnuts and fry them for a few moments too. Pour in the porcini mushrooms, together with the soaking liquid but be careful to avoid any grit that may have collected at the bottom. Pour over the brandy and add the leaves from the thyme. Increase the heat a little and let the mixture bubble for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and blitz it together. Pour in the cream, season to taste and whizz it up again until you are happy with the texture, you can make it as smooth or course as you like. Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins and then pop them in the fridge to chill and firm up a little until you are ready to serve them with some delicious warm bread.

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