Ana Sortun learned this recipe from a friend in Armenia named Armen Mehrabyan, an exporter who supplies her restaurant Oleana with great teas and with spice blends for fish. You can mold the pâté in a terrine or bowl lined with plastic wrap if you prefer a different shape.
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1 cup dried red kidney beans (6 ounces)—picked over, soaked overnight and drained, or 2 1/2 cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small white onion, minced
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
3/4 cup walnuts (3 ounces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced dill
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Armenian string cheese and baguette slices or torn pita, for serving
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, combine the dried beans, onion and bay leaf. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain the beans in a colander and discard the bay leaf. Let cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for about 7 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer the walnuts to a food processor and let them cool completely. Add the cooked dried or drained canned kidney beans, butter and garlic and pulse until smooth. Add the dill, basil and parsley, season with salt and pepper and pulse the bean pâté just until blended.
Scrape the bean pâté onto a long sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a 12-by-2-inch log. Wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Slice the pâté 1/2 inch thick and serve with the string cheese and bread.
The pâté can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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