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French Country Pâté

You’ve made meat loaf, right? You’ve eaten cold meat loaf, yes? Then you’re halfway to being an ass-kicking, name-taking charcutier. “Ooooh…pâté, I don’t know.” Please. Campagne means “country” in French — which means even your country-ass can make it.

Caul fat is the lacelike intestinal lining that you are going to use to line your terrine mold. It’s one of those things you want to have ordered from your butcher way in advance, so that it’s there, fresh, and ready to go, when your other meat arrives. Caul fat is great, multipurpose stuff. Your butcher has probably heard the tales of his fellow butchers binding wounds with it. You can wrap forcemeats in it (as we will do), fish, or roasts. It helps keep shape and retain moisture, and it adds flavor. And it looks really cool and professional. It has the added benefit of being easy to work with.–Anthony Bourdain with Jose de Meirelles & Phillippe Lajaunie

French Country Pâté Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 3 H, 30 M
  • Makes a 2 1/2-pound (1.5 kg) terrine

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (225 g) pork liver, cut into chunks just small enough to fit into the meat grinder
  • 1/2 pound (225 g) pork fat, cut into chunks just small enough to fit into the meat grinder
  • 1 pound (450 g) pork shoulder, cut into chunks just small enough to fit into the meat grinder
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • Scant pinch of allspice (careful!)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces (75 ml) cognac
  • 3 ounces (75 ml) white wine
  • 4 sprigs flat parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • Caul fat, to wrap (purchase from your butcher)
  • 1 cup (225 g) duck fat

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the liver, pork fat, pork shoulder, pepper, allspice, garlic, shallots, cognac, white wine, and parsley and cover. Refrigerate overnight. That was easy.
  • 2. The next day, remove the mixture from the refrigerator, add the salt, and pass everything through the strong meat grinder, which you have fitted with a medium blade. The grind size should not be too small (paste) nor too large (chunks). Basically, you’re looking for a grind size about that of meat loaf. If you don’t have a durable meat grinder, suck up to your friendly neighborhood butcher and take your mix down to him. He should like you by now; he doesn’t get a lot of calls for pork liver and pork fat. (If that’s also not an option, trim off as much sinew as possible, cut the pork into small dice, and hope for the best.)
  • 3. When your meat and other ingredients are ground up, add the egg and mix through by hand. Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C).
  • 4. Line the terrine mold with one big piece of caul fat (or overlapping pieces, if you must) so that plenty of extra flops over the edge — enough to cover the top of the pâté when you fill the mold. Fill the terrine with the ground mixture, packing it tightly. Lift the terrine and firmly drop it onto the work surface (easy, don’t go nuts) a few times, to knock out any air pockets. Fold over the remaining caul fat to neatly cover the pâté, trimming and tucking until it looks nice. Now cover the whole megillah with foil.
  • 5. Set up a bain-marie inside the preheated oven. Put the filled terrine in the center. Obviously, you do not want the water level to be so high that the water leaks into the terrine mold. You want just enough water so that it comes up below the rim. Cook the terrine in the water bath in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature is 160°F (70°C) (this is where your meat thermometer comes in).
  • 6. When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place a weight on top of the terrine (still in foil) and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the weight, remove the foil, melt down the duck fat in a small saucepan, and pour it carefully over the pate. Then refrigerate again for a few hours. The pâté will keep in the refrigerator for at least 5 days.
  • 7. Serve with cornichons and maybe a tiny salad. If you did everything right, the pâté, when sliced, should be firm and moist, not dry or crumbly. The color should be uniform, not pink at the bottom and gray on the top. It should be cooked through, and the slices should have structural integrity, meaning they don’t break when you cut them.
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