Black bean and walnut pate with home-made thyme crackers

Serves 6

For the paté

This is the perfect starter for non-vegans. It’s so rich and delicious, they won’t even notice that it’s entirely plant-based.

160g walnuts
2 x 200g tins of black beans, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps brandy
3 sprigs of thyme
500ml vegetable stock
2 tbsps soya cream
salt & black pepper

For the crackers
Makes enough for 6

150g plain flour
¼ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tbsps olive oil
120 ml water
3 x sprigs thyme
sea salt and black pepper

  1. Add the walnuts to a dry frying pan over a low heat and stir till they’re toasted. Rub off skins in a clean tea towel, but don’t worry if you can’t get them all off. Add to food processor and pulse to a chunky, sand-like texture.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans, then add to a saucepan with the stock and thyme sprigs. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and cool, discarding sprigs.
  3. Add beans and the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until you have a roughly-textured, spreadable paté mix. If it’s too stiff, add a little more soya cream or brandy if you want a bit of a kick. Refrigerate till 10 mins before serving with the crackers.

For the crackers

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°c. Sieve the flour into a bowl, and strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs. Add them to the flour along with all the other ingredients. Mix to a dough, adding a little more flour if too wet.
  2. Roll the dough thinly (about 2mm), using clingfilm to stop it sticking to the board. Dust a baking tray with flour, and cut the dough into squares or circles using a pizza wheel or cookie cutter. Press holes in each cracker with a fork.
  3. Bake for 7-8 minutes, turning over halfway through, until golden brown and crisp. Cool on a rack, and keep in an airtight container.

 

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