This chestnut, black olive and thyme pâté is rich, boozy and luxurious – a perfect starter or buffet table offering for the festive season.
You can forage for sweet chestnuts in UK woodlands from around mid-October but if you don’t get around to it or the maggots have got there first then tinned chestnuts are widely available in supermarkets and delis. In this recipe I used the tinned variety but if you have you have fresh ones just cook and peel before use (don’t forget to slit the skins before putting the chestnuts in the oven to avoid any unwanted explosions).
The pate is super quick and easy to make. I make the whole thing in a pestle and mortar but a bowl and a fork would work just as well. The dense almost fudgy texture of the chestnuts means you don’t need to add any fat and the heat of the raw garlic and cayenne pepper combined with the kick of the brandy help make for a lively feast.
- 1 red onion
- Olive oil for frying
- 200g cooked chestnuts
- 35ml brandy
- 30g rye bread
- 10-15 black olives, roughly chopped
- 2 small cloves garlic
- 7 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to season
- hinly slice the red onion and fry in a little olive oil on medium heat until soft and beginning to colour. Set aside to cool.
- Drain and mash the chestnuts and stir in the brandy.
- To make the bread crumbs you can grate the bread or wizz it in the food processor. Alternatively, if the bread is not too moist then just rub between your fingers to until it breaks down into a fine crumb. Mash the breadcrumbs in with the chestnut mix and stir through the chopped olives.
- Finely chop the garlic and add to the chestnut mix along with the thyme leaves, cayenne pepper and cooked red onion. Season to taste.
- Perfect served alongside toasted rye bread or oatcakes and accompanied by a glass of brandy or port.