|bacon — streaky, finely chopped
|onion — finely chopped
|garlic — cloves, crushed
|fresh thyme — finely chopped
|porcini mushrooms — dried, soaked
|exotic mushrooms — mixed
|cognac — or brandy or dry sherry
|cream cheese — full fat
|salt and freshly ground black pepper
|butter — melted
|fresh thyme — sprigs
In a large heavy based frying pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan.
Sauté the onion, garlic and thyme in the butter until softened and fragrant.
Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned and softened.
Squeeze excess liquid out of the soaked porcini mushrooms and add to the pan. Fry for a few more minutes.
Add the cognac and simmer until the cooking liquid is almost completely reduced. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Place the onion and mushroom mixture into a food processor together with the bacon and cream cheese. Blend until it resembles a chunky paté consistency. Season to taste and blend some more. It should be smooth with a few coarse bits of mushroom and bacon.
Spoon into ramekins use the back of a spoon to smooth out the mixture. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and pour a thin layer of melted butter over the surface of each one.
Chill for at least 40 minutes before serving. Can be prepared up to 3 days in advance.
Spread generously onto garlic bruschetta.
Replace exotic mushrooms with brown mushrooms.
For veggie option, replace bacon with more mushrooms.
Add fresh parsley.