Mushroom pate makes a fantastic starter for Christmas. Serve it in individual ramekins with crusty bread or crackers. Or serve it on your Christmas buffet table and let your guests and family help themselves. Be careful though – this mushroom pate is so delicious you might find no one has room left for the main meal!
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I always make pate at Christmas.
It probably stems from the time when I lived in South Africa and Christmas was at the height of summer. It was a time for outdoor get-togethers and barbeques and pate was perfect for handing round as a light snack to keep the hunger pangs at bay while waiting for the meat to cook.
Now that I’m living in the UK I can’t get out of the habit. As soon as Christmas arrives I get the urge to start making pate, such as this delicious chicken liver pate.
Unfortunately, the English winter doesn’t lend itself to barbeques, but pate can be enjoyed indoors too. It makes the perfect starter when served in individual ramekins with crackers or crusty bread. And it is the ideal dish to add to your Christmas buffet table so that everyone can help themselves.
This year I decided to deviate somewhat from the normal chicken liver pate and try my hand at mushroom pate instead.
And I’m delighted to tell you that this may just replace the chicken liver pate as my favourite pate.
I got the idea for this mushroom pate from my steak roulades that I’d stuffed with a mushroom duxelles. There was a little bit of the stuffing left over, which I tasted it once it had gone cold. The flavour was amazing so I remade the duxelles with the addition of sherry and cream, and this mushroom pate was born.
The mushrooms are cooked slowly with onions and thyme until the moisture has all evaporated and the mushroom flavour has intensified. The addition of sherry adds an element of sweetness, and a dash of cream finishes off the pate beautifully.
If you prefer a smooth pate you can blend the cooked mushrooms and onions with a stick blender. I prefer the texture to be a little more coarse so I don’t bother with this step. It’s your choice 🙂
What is duxelles?
Duxelles (pronounced duck-sell) is a French term, which in culinary terms has come to mean a cooked paste of mushrooms and onions. It is normally flavoured with thyme and parsley and seasoned with salt and pepper.
If you’ve ever eaten beef Wellington, then you will have tasted Duxelles before, because this is the way in which the mushroom layer in a beef Wellington is made.
So let’s have a look at how easy it is to make this yummy mushroom pate.
What you will need
Some individual ramekins for serving.
Not too many – this is a very easy recipe.
Mushrooms – I like to use chestnut mushrooms because I think they’ve got more flavour than white mushrooms. You could use any mushrooms really though – cremini, portobello, whatever you happen to have available.
Onion – I used a small white onion, but you can use shallots or even a red onion. Once the mushrooms and onions have been chopped, you will need roughly one-third the amount of onions as mushrooms by volume.
Garlic – you can use fresh garlic or for convenience, you can use ready-crushed garlic from a jar.
Butter – this is used for frying the onions and mushrooms. I’d suggest using unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt that gets added.
Fresh thyme and parsley – the thyme gets fried with the onions and you will need about a tablespoon of fresh thyme. If you are using dried thyme you will need about half a teaspoon. The chopped parsley gets mixed in when the mushrooms and onions have cooked, and once again you will need about a tablespoon. If you don’t have fresh parsley I’d suggest leaving it out altogether rather than using dried parsley.
Salt and black pepper – this is used for seasoning and you should let the mushrooms and onions finish cooking before adding salt and pepper to your own taste.
Cream – I used double cream as this will help the pate to thicken.
Sherry – this is optional, but one tablespoon adds additional flavour. If you don’t use alcohol you can leave it out.
What to do
This recipe will make around 2 and a half cups of mushroom pate.
Using a food processor (or a sharp knife and lots of elbow grease) chop the mushrooms finely. Transfer them to a plate.
Pick the leaves off the thyme and put them in the food processor with the onions and garlic. Process them until they are finely chopped.
Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the chopped onions and saute gently for 5 minutes until the onions have started to soften and turn translucent.
Stir occasionally and do not allow the onions to brown.
Add the mushrooms, and keeping the heat on low, let the mushrooms cook with the onions until the mushrooms have released their moisture.
Stir often to prevent the mushrooms from sticking to the pan.
Continue to cook until the moisture evaporates and you are left with a thick paste.
This step will take between 15 and 20 minutes.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley, cream and sherry.
Transfer the mixture into bowls and optionally garnish with a sprig of parsley.
Allow to cool and then cover with cling film and store in the refrigerator or freeze until needed.
- If you prefer a smooth pate you can blend the mushrooms with a stick blender before transferring the mixture into the serving bowls.
- The smaller white bowls in the picture above are the perfect size for individual portions of mushroom pate. I picked these up at Poundland in a packet of 3. The larger bowls are best used when serving the pate as part of a Christmas buffet spread.
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Mushroom pate FAQ
Absolutely – it freezes perfectly. In fact, the batch I made for this recipe is in my freezer right now, waiting for Christmas (although I did keep one bowl out to snack on because it’s so good).
If you want to freeze it, either freeze it directly in the serving dishes or pack the entire amount into one larger plastic container.
It will stay good for 3 months or longer. Let it defrost in the refrigerator or if you are in a hurry it will defrost without any problems on the counter.
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Other recipes you may like
You may also enjoy these other appetiser recipes:
- Creamy mushroom tarts with puff pastry – Garlic, mushrooms and red onions with a hint of thyme are the main ingredients in this recipe for creamy mushroom tarts.
- How to make blinis – make your own blinis and add your own favourite toppings
- Octopus stew – Spanish style – a tasty tapas style appetiser
- Thai salmon fishcakes with spicy dipping sauce – serve as a starter with a spicy cucumber and peanut dipping sauce
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- ½ pound / 225 grams chestnut mushrooms Finely chopped
- 1 medium white onion Finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves only
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 ounces / 60 grams butter
- 1 tablespoon sherry
- 2 tablespoons double cream
- Salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Using a food processor (or a sharp knife and lots of elbow grease) chop the mushrooms finely. Transfer them to a plate.½ pound / 225 grams chestnut mushrooms
- Pick the leaves off the thyme and put them in the food processor with the onions and garlic. Process them until they are finely chopped.1 medium white onion, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 2 cloves garlic
- Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the chopped onions and saute gently for 5 minutes until the onions have started to soften and turn translucent.Stir occasionally and do not allow the onions to brown.2 ounces / 60 grams butter
- Add the chopped mushrooms, and keeping the heat on low, let the mushrooms cook with the onions until the mushrooms have released their moisture.Stir often to prevent the mushrooms from sticking to the pan.
- Continue to cook until the moisture evaporates and you are left with a thick paste.This step will take between 15 and 20 minutes.
- Season with salt and black pepper.Salt, Ground black pepper
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley, cream and sherry.1 tablespoon sherry, 2 tablespoons double cream, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Return the pan to the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Transfer the mixture into bowls and optionally garnish with a sprig of parsley.Allow to cool and then cover with cling film and store in the refrigerator or freeze until needed.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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