Twelve Days of Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres (Fifth Day)


On the fifth day of Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres, my true love gave to me…


Be very happy these posts aren’t accompanied by my singing voice. Computer monitors around the globe would shatter, I’m sure of it. The good thing for me is that I can’t really hear how bad I sound, and its still fun to sing along. I really should stick to whistling though, that I can do without too many complaints from  those around me. Or better yet, I should stick with cooking, which brings me to today’s post:

Wild Mushroom Pate

Traditional pate, made from either chicken, duck, or goose liver, has made an appearance on  elegant holiday tables for years. I remember my grandfather, especially, looking forward to this special treat around the holidays, served in a small brown ceramic crock with toasted French bread.

In an effort to carry on the tradition of serving pate around the holidays, I have created a healthier, twist on this vintage dish, using a combination of fresh and dried mushrooms, simmered with herbs in white wine and brandy. The result is  a luxurious, velvety mix of earthy rich flavors.You won’t even think about the fact that the pate is vegetarian. Serve with crispy Parmesan Toasts and fresh chives… I think even my grandfather would have approved.


Wild Mushroom Pate with Parmesan Toasts

½ ounce dried blend shiitake/porcini mushrooms

1 cup hot water

1 stick  butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup finely chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia)

6 ounces Crimini (baby bella)mushrooms, sliced

½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

½ teaspoon dried sage leaves

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

½ cup dry white wine

¼ cup brandy

1 package cocktail rye bread

4 tablespoons butter, melted (for rye bread toasts)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup freshly snipped chives for garnish

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, until very tender. Drain well.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic until beginning to soften (about 3 minutes). Add mushrooms, herbs, salt, and pepper; sauté until very tender. Once liquid begins to evaporate, add the wine and brandy. Reduce until most of the liquid is gone. Cool, taste and adjust seasonings, then add to food processor and process until very smooth. Pour into a small bowl or crock and chill until set. Remove from refrigerator an hour before serving to soften a bit.

For rye toasts: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place rye bread squares on a large baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted on each side. Brush one side with melted butter, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and return to oven and bake an additional 3 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Spread pate on toasted rye bread and sprinkle with chives.

Serves 8-10

Tokyo Terrace has paired a lovely champagne cocktail for us:

PomChampagnePomegranate Spiked Champagne

Click here to visit Tokyo Terrace for the recipe


7 thoughts on “Twelve Days of Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres (Fifth Day)”

  1. The last pate I had was a chicken liver mousse-style. It was wonderful but so rich that that couldn’t finish my serving. My boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of organ meats (though open-minded), so this will be a perfect alternative!

  2. Your title caught my eye. You use cultivated mushrooms for your recipe. It is important that your readers not try and pick wild mushrooms themselves. The toxic mushrooms and edible mushrooms are very similar and sometimes only a true expert with a microscope can tell the difference. I remind people who are interested in mushroom hunting that both Picasso and Eule Gibbons died of mushroom poisoning. There was a story the other day in Michigan where a family had gone mushroom gathering, had gotten one toxic mushroom in their pot, and all died. So be careful to use only store bought mushrooms for your pate.

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