Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pate Chinois

That's Shepherd's Pie for you non-French Canadians. I love this dish - its one of those homey, simple, inexpensive go-to meals that every cook has in her/his repertoire. In my case, my father's family hails from Acadie in French-speaking Canada, and and my Memiere was a wonderful, simple cook. She often made Pate Chinois when we visited overnight because she knew I loved it, and she always put peas in it, though many other French Canadian women use corn. She also always had raspberry jam for toast in the morning, and she made the most delicious apricot pie this side of heaven!

Pate Chinois is one of those meat-filled dishes that it is very easy to vegetarianize, with no one the wiser. That's what I did tonight. I already had about 3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge, so that cut down the prep time.

Vegetarian Pate Chinois

1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
approximately 1 Tbs olive oil for sauteeing
2 large carrots, diced
1 large celery stalk, minced
1 bag beef-like crumbles, about 1 1/2 cups
2 beef bouillion cubes
2 Tbs white wine
salt and pepper to taste
pinch summer savory
1/2 tsp marjoram
1 1/4 C frozen peas

Using an oven-ready saute pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over med-high heat until edges begin to carmelize, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and saute for a couple of minutes, then add the crumbles, still over med-high heat. Splash in the wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Then add in the bouillion cubes, summer savory, marjoram, and enough water to make a bit of gravy, about 1/2 C or so. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes for the flavors to meld. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust. Add the peas, mix well and let them steam. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top and bake, uncovered, at 375F for 10 - 15 minutes until potatoes just begin to get golden brown.

Notes: I don't know what brand frozen crumbles I used because I didn't have the box anymore. You can use reconstituted TVP to make about 2 C after soaking, or about 2 C al dente lentils would be good too. If you are a purist, you can always use hamburger as well! This entire meal took about 40 minutes to prepare with leftover mashed potatoes.

Serves 4 very generously as a one-dish meal, more if you serve it with some side dishes.

Dear daughter says five stars, but I say four because its not quite as good as I remember my Memiere's.


HLB said...

Hi Missingebecheery: I just wanted to say that your website (blog) is very helpful. I am also Orthodox Christian and am living in Quebec, and now that we are in the advent fast, I am looking to convert simple meat dishes into vegan meals. You have some great recipes. Keep up the awesome website. FYI, if you don't have one, you should buy a lebanese cookbook since a lot of our dishes are vegan using lentils, chickpeas, etc to make our dishes. There is also an Orthodox Cookbook, called: A lenten cookbook for Orthodox Christians, from St. Nectarios American Orthodox Church which is super helpful too.



Quebecer said...

Just a by the way, the picture you posted with "Paté Chinois" is actually Shepherd's Pie, not pate chinois.

I love your blog though, keep it up :)

Denise Babineau Norman said...

Quebecer, that is pate chinois, as made by my Quebecois relatives, as well as my Acadian. I'm curious, what do you believe to be the difrerence between shepherd's pie and pate chinois? Post a recipe so I can see. Thanks! Denise, the blog owner.