This is so good and such a surprise. I came across a recipe for this in Joanne Stepaniak’s Vegan Deli: Wholesome Ethnic Fast Food, Book Publishing Company, Summertown, Tennessee 2001. I grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Southern California with my family when I was a teenager. Deli food was a regular part of the diet in my family. I loved the flavors of all those rich and garlicky and vinegary foods and still do. I regularly ate liverwurst as a child and I remember when I first had chopped liver as an appetizer when I was about seven or eight. I loved it. Nevertheless, I hadn’t had chopped liver for many, many years and so when I found this and tried some, all the memories of all the delicatessens I had been to in my life came rushing back. Much to my surprise a cursory search of the internet revealed many variations on this theme. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t come across this before.
My version of this dish calls for green lentils. Timeless Food of Conrad, Montana grows great lentils and their French style lentils (lentils de puy) are delicious. You can find a distributor or order on line at www.timelessfood.com.
I was really surprised at just how good this pate tastes. I find it especially good on a slice of toasted rye bread or rye crisp with some Maille mustard. The first time I made it, I served it on bread with a bowl of potato and leek soup. So good. It would also go well with borscht. Braised red cabbage, potato salad, coleslaw – anything vinegarish would be great. The second time I made this I served it with coleslaw. It was tasty.
• ¾ cups of green lentils
• 2-1/2 cups of water
• 1 cup of chopped onion
• 2 tbsp. minced garlic, 3-4 cloves
• 1/4 cup of brandy or white wine
• 1 cup of chopped roasted walnuts
• 1 tbsp. of dried thyme, crushed between your palms
• 1 tbsp. tamari
• Salt and pepper
Add the onions to a non-stick skillet and cook over medium to medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Stir often and add a spoonful of brandy or white wine from time to time as the onions stick to the pan and get brown. Add the garlic and cook another 5-10 minutes. The onions should be brown and almost mushy.
Rinse the lentils and place in a large sauce pan with the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. If you buy bulk lentils make sure that they are not too old. The older your lentils are the longer they will take to cook.
When the lentils and onions are done, put them in a food processor with the thyme, tamari, walnuts, salt and pepper and puree into a thick paste.
Most directions say to chill thoroughly, but I’ve scooped it out and spread a thick layer on rye bread right away and it is fine. Don’t forget the dill pickle on the side!
This recipe makes about three cups. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. I usually freeze some of it in one-cup portions. I don’t know how long you can keep it frozen. My freezer stash is usually gone within two weeks. Don’t forget to label and date everything.