Thursday, July 29, 2010

Red Lentil and Walnut Pate in the Style of French Mousseline Forcemeat

We ran out of beans so I wanted to make a different version of the lentil pate I made recently. This time I decided to stick with more traditional pate seasonings to see how that worked since the texture on the last batch was so close to forcemeat. I don’t always want to recreate omni food closely but that was the mood I was in yesterday. The flavors I used were classic to pate and resulted in something that is similar to braunschweiger in terms of taste.

There are four basic styles of pate with country pate and mousseline being the ones I see most often. Country pate has a more coarse somewhat grainy texture and is easier to make at home. The meat for country pate is ground but not pureed. Country pate is a humble dish that is typically served with a crusty baguette and Dijon mustard. Mousseline forcemeat is a very smooth silky pate that is very similar to the texture of this lentil pate due to being pureed after it has been ground. Traditionally pate will include heavy cream and brandy for which I substituted walnuts (for richness) and apple cider vinegar for acidity.  Here is what I did:

Red Lentil and Walnut Pate in the Style of French Mousseline Forcemeat
Makes 12 servings


1 cup red lentils
2 – 2 ½ cups water
1 bay leaf
¼ cup red onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup walnuts
¼ teaspoons nutmeg
3 whole cloves, pregrind in a spice grinder if not using a Vitamix
2 whole allspice berries, pregrind in a spice grinder if not using a Vitamix
6 whole tellicherry peppercorns, pregrind in a spice grinder if not using a Vitamix
¾ tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Combine the lentils, 2 cups of water and bay leaf and simmer on low for 30 minutes stirring occasionally to make certain they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pan. You may or may not need the extra ½ cup of water. After 30 minutes add the onion and garlic and cook for another 10 minutes. The lentils should be thick and the water mostly evaporated. The texture will be similar to mashed potatoes only a bit thinner. Remove the bay leaf.

Place the lentils in your blender. Add the walnuts, spices and apple cider vinegar and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as you desire. The consistency will resemble thin mashed potatoes but will thicken in the refrigerator as it cools.  The seasonings will become more pronouced as the pate sits in the refrigerator.

Store the pate in the refrigerator in a covered container until needed. Best served cold with Dijon mustard or pickles. I normally spread this on cucumber rounds or place it in hollowed out cherry tomatoes.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 121.88
Calories From Fat (46%) - 56.51

Total Fat - 6.76g
Saturated Fat - 0.68g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 3.04mg
Potassium - 140.99mg
Total Carbohydrates - 11.39g
Fiber - 2.52g
Sugar - 0.28g
Protein - 5.56g


This turned out much more like traditional pate than I expected. Both the taste and texture are eerily similar. I think this recipe was quite the success. It will definitely be turning up at our house again.

Unrelated notes:

Somehow we managed to consume all five pounds of carrots I purchased earlier this week. This meant I was back to the store again this morning. Although I did walk it wasn’t the most pleasant trip this morning since the humidity is up as well as the temperature. On the way to the store I happened to notice purslane growing almost everywhere. Why isn’t it in my yard? Since the farmer that has it at the market charges $9 a pound, for what my husband calls “sidewalk weeds”, I decided to pick some on the way home. When I got home and got it into my big measuring cup to soak I realized I have picked 8 cups worth in probably less than a minute. Not bad for just a few moments of work.

For those of you that don’t know purslane it is a plant source of omega 3. You can add it to salad or sauté it with other greens. It has a very mild flavor and a fleshy leaf. I enjoy the taste and the texture. Dan likes to joke about eating weeds but he doesn’t complain about the taste. If you make spanakopita add purslane to the spinach it works well there too.

I am going to go make myself some lunch. I think a big salad with some purslane is in my future. I hope everyone is having a great Thursday.


  1. I have never eaten purslane. I haven't seen it for sale around here.

    The pic reminds me of weeds that were in our garden as a child. Now I wonder if we were throwing out something good?

    Enjoy the purslane! :)

  2. Naina,

    It is probably exactly the same thing. Most gardeners consider it a weed and get rid of it. Only one vendor at our farmers' market sells it. You should check your yard, you may have some. I don't but apparently most people do. It seems to like direct sun based on where I found it today. It appears to be everywhere but in my yard. *shakes head*

    good hunting,

  3. It's important to note that there are other weeds that look very much like purslane that are NOT purslane and ARE poisonous. It is a good idea to triple-check to make sure you have actual purslane before consuming. Snap a stem; if there’s white, milky sap inside, discard it (you may have picked spurge, a poisonous plant that grows in similar conditions to purslane).

  4. Gloria,

    I just did a quick internet search and can't find anything on scourge. Can you post a link? I would be curious to see a picture of of it.


  5. Gloria,

    It helps when I spell it right, LOL. There seem to be many varieties of the plant. Interesting. No milky white here, but good to know. ;-)


  6. Thank you for the link to forcemeat b/c I have never heard of it or had it. I've never had purselane either. Though, I'd much rather try that over forcemeat!! ;-)

  7. Heather,

    I had a feeling most vegans woudn't have a frame of reference for forcemeat. In my omnis days I used to love to make pate. I bet Jason knows exactly what mousseline forcemeat is. ;-)

    Dan likes to make fun of my purslane. I have been buying it at our farmers' market for years which is why I was happy to see it growing close to home. Typically I am not the foraging type but since I have had so much purslane in the past I was fairly confident it was purslane I was picking. ;-)

    Your week is almost over, yay! Only a few hours to go. :-)

    Enjoy the exercise road trip,

  8. Score on the purslane. None of it ever grows in my garden either...I'll have to keep a look out for it; maybe I'll get lucky and be able to forage some.

  9. Rose,

    Thanks for letting me know it isn't just my yard. I swear I saw it every where on my way to the store. You can bet I will be back to get more when we run out, LOL. I texted Dan to tell him because I was so excited (I am such a geek). He wrote back, "Yay weeds!" Cute isn't he? *rolls eyes*

    I hope you find some too. You may get lucky by the lake on your walks. Fingers crossed. ;-)



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