Mushroom Paté (Plus a vegan version)

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This vegetable paté is as close as it gets to a more traditional meat version – you could even serve a spoon over a steak instead of cooking fried mushrooms. Choose a mixture of exotic mushrooms or just one type, for example shiitake, button mushrooms or portobello. When you find mushrooms on special offer at the supermarket this is the time to make it. Serve as part of a vegetarian mezze plate or on bruschetta.

Ingredients

300g mushrooms
30g butter (use vegan butter for a vegan version)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
220g cream cheese
Fresh thyme sprigs to garnish

Instructions
1. Wipe the mushrooms with a piece of damp paper towel or a clean damp cloth. Chop finely.

2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a generous pinch of sea salt. Fry for 10 minutes stirring them during cooking and when they have given up their juices and they have evaporated, add the garlic and fry over a high heat for one to two minutes until the garlic is fragrant.

3. Blitz the mushrooms and garlic in a bullet blender or food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese, holding back a tablespoon or two so you can decide whether to make the paté rougher or creamier. Add the rest of the cream cheese for a smoother paté. Taste and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl, leave to cool and chill for an hour or 2 to firm up. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Keeps well for up to 4 days in the fridge.

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