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Welcome to Michael's by by Michael McCarty
For dip sophisticates, this pate has a deep, complex flavor, made woodsy and slightly sweet from the roasted chestnuts. This dip tastes especially good on melba toast or some such type of cracker. Make a few extra roasted chestnuts just for nibbling on, because you're going to want to.
Time: 50 Minutes (Mostly Inactive),
Plus Chill Time
Makes Over 2 Cups
• 1 pound whole chestnuts
• 1/2 cup French lentils, sorted, rinsed, and drained
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed, crushed
• 2 1/2 cups water (for the lentils), plus 3/4 to 1 cup (for blending)
• 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
• 1/2 whole nutmeg, or 1/4 teaspoon ground
To roast the chestnuts: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice a little slit in the shell of each chestnut to prevent them from exploding in the heat. Place the chestnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a kitchen towel. Let cool a bit and then bunch the edges of the towel together, tightly wrapping the chestnuts and crushing them to loosen their shells. Open the towel and peel the shells from chestnuts.
Meanwhile, prepare the lentils: Place them in a small pot with the 2 1/2 cups of water and the crushed garlic. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, until all or most of the water is absorbed and the lentils are very tender.
Remove as much of the garlic as you can from the lentils. Place the lentils in the food processor or blender, along with the chestnuts. Blend a bit, adding 1/2 cup of water until relatively smooth. Add the oil, salt, and parsley, and blend again. If the mixture seems too thick, add up to another 1/2 cup of water. It should be thicker than the consistency of hummus, but not by much.
Place in a covered bowl and chill for at least an hour.
Serving suggestions: Toast thin slices of French bread. Spread with a few tablespoons of pate, then place a slice of tomato on top. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and garnish with parsley.
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