Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of The Chocolate Bunny, chose pâté with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cooks’ challenge! They provided us with 4 different pâté recipes to choose from and allowed us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.
I have to admit, my heart sank a little when I read this month’s Daring Cooks’ challenge. Firstly, I suck at breadmaking, secondly, I kind of don’t “do” offal. The only pâté that I truly like to eat is Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm Pâté which you unfortunately cannot get here. Some of the chunkier pâté de campagne that you can buy in France are also ok, but the thought of making them? Sorry ladies… Thankfully there was a vegetarian option which looked fairly simple and tasty.
The breadmaking part? Well even though bread is clearly my nemesis, I was actually prepared to tackle it. That is, until United Airlines messed with my schedule. Well actually, they messed with Conor’s schedule but since we were picking her up, it affected us too. Instead of arriving at 4.30pm, which would have meant collecting her just in time for apéritifs and getting the yeast starter going sometime after a leisurely barbecue dinner, poor Conor dragged herself through Arrivals at around 10.45pm, sans bagages (bien sûr!) and to be honest, the last thing on my mind then was making a yeast starter. The girl needed a bite to eat, a big glass of wine, a toothbrush and some pajamas.
So I present you a half a Daring Cooks’ challenge. Sorry everyone but sometimes life gets in the way.
This was actually one of the easiest things I have made recently and even though it got some suspicious sideways glances from our carnivorous friends (yes, Me Neil, we’re talking about you!), it was devoured with great gusto. Neil even went back for seconds and thirds, which is a huge compliment coming from someone who will regularly ask of my vegetarian dishes “Where’s the meat?” or “Is that it?”
A word of warning if you are going to attempt this – it DOES make a HUGE amount of “pâté” (and yes, I am putting that in inverted commas because any self-respecting Frenchman would not call this a pâté – it is much more like a dip in its consistency anyway). I would halve or even quarter the recipe next time (we had a few people over for dinner so it was fine but there was still a fair amount of leftovers) and make it in a small round dish for prettier presentation. I would also change up the layers to make the cannellini bean layer go in the middle since it’s the least attractive of the three. I would also make the three layers up first before I put them in the mold to make sure I had the same amount of each mixture – as you can see from the photos, it’s fairly cannellini bean heavy.
Having said all that, it tasted great
Tricolor Vegetable Pâté
Bon Appétit | October 1993
Yield: Serves 12 to 14
White Bean Layer
2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained thoroughly
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Red Pepper Layer
1 7-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
Fresh herb sprigs
Sourdough bread slices
Line 8 1/2×4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, overlapping sides.
For Bean Layer:
Mash beans in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bean mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan.
For Red Pepper Layer:
Combine peppers and feta in processor and blend until smooth. Spread pepper mixture evenly over bean layer in prepared dish.
For Pesto Layer:
Mince garlic in processor. Add basil, parsley and pine nuts and mince. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in ricotta. Spread pesto evenly over red pepper layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To unmold, invert pâté onto serving platter. Peel off plastic wrap from pâté. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with sourdough bread slices.
As promised, today is the day I announce the winner of the Easy and Elegant Dinner Calphalon Utensils giveaway. Random.org chose Daydreamer Desserts! Congratulations Josie! Please get in touch with your address and I will mail you the fab utensils asap!