I’m happy to be home after a wonderful Christmas visit with family in Canada. We traveled by car (with said car loaded to the limit with food, wine, gifts, and warm clothing), and got the requisite challenge of a prairie blizzard as we started back home! It was a lovely time; there was plenty of good food, wine, and reminiscing. I had done a lot of baking, but the undisputed favorite was this savory country-style paté. I purchased the terrine mold in Paris, from the venerable E. Dehillerin kitchen supply shop, and I was determined to use it. Country paté is simple to make; there’s not much more effort required than in preparing a meat loaf. However, the quality of the meat and the coarse grind are what make a really good paté. And I do not own a meat grinder (quel dommage!). So I set about finding a butcher who would grind the pork to my specifications, and I found the ultimate solution at Bavette la Boucherie. This amazing little shop sources local and sustainably raised Berkshire pork. Even better for me, they were completely familiar with the recipe I was using. That’s because it’s from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s cookbook “Charcuterie”, which is the ultimate guide, in my opinion. I happily made the trip to downtown Milwaukee to pick up my ground pork products and try my hand at paté-making. This attempt was so successful that I will soon be acquiring the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I am going to do my part to maintain the art of charcuterie in the coming months, so stay tuned.
My terrine mold is quite small, so I was able to fill it and a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan. The recipe calls for a 1 1/2 quart capacity terrine, but don’t worry if this piece of equipment is not in your kitchen. Just use a loaf pan (or two, depending on size), and carry on. It will turn out fine, you’ll see. It’s very important to place a two pound weight on the paté after it’s baked. This compacts the meat and results in an even texture. I cut pieces of heavy cardboard to the size of my molds and wrapped them with foil. These were placed on the surface of the paté and then weights were applied. A brick works well, but again, you can improvise with canned goods and get equally fine results. Once the paté chills overnight, under the weights, it is ready to be served. Let it come to room temperature and enjoy with a crispy baguette, cornichons, and grainy mustard, if you like. The paté can be refrigerated for up to a week to ten days, and it also freezes well.
Paté De Campagne
(makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings)
2 pounds (1 kilogram) boneless pork shoulder butt, cut into 1-inch dice*
4 ounces (100 grams) pork or chicken liver**
1/4 cup (50 grams) chopped white or yellow onion
8 tablespoons (48 grams) coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons (24 grams) minced garlic
1 ounce (25 grams) kosher salt (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon (3 grams) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) Paté Spice (see below)
2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) brandy
1/2 cup (125 milliliters) heavy cream
Optional garnishes: diced ham, cooked mushrooms, rinsed brine-cured green peppercorns, duck confit (a total of 1 cup)
If you are grinding the meat yourself, freeze all your blades and bowls before gathering and measuring your ingredients. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Grind the pork through the large die into the bowl of a standing mixer set in ice. Transfer about one-third of the pork to a smaller bowl, and add the liver, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and paté spice. Fit the grinder with the small die and grind the pork-seasonings mixture into the bowl of coarsely ground pork. Refrigerate. In a small bowl, combine the flour, eggs, brandy, and cream and whisk to blend-this is the panade. Add it to the ground meat and, using the paddle attachment, mix until the panade is incorporated and the mixture becomes sticky, about a minute. (You can also do this using a wooden spoon or your hands). Fold in the optional garnish, if using. Do a quenelle test to check the seasoning, and adjust if necessary: wrap a generous spoonful of the meat mixture in plastic wrap and poach in simmering water until cooked through. Don’t saute the meat as it will caramelize and the fat will render out, and therefore won’t approximate the flavor and texture of the finished paté. Pack the meat into the mold(s) of your choice, pressing down firmly to remove air pockets. Cover tightly with a lid or foil. Place the terrine or mold(s) into a high-sided roasting pan and add enough hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Put in the oven and bake until the interior of the paté reaches 150°F (65°C) if using pork liver, 160°F (70°C) if using chicken liver, about an hour (mine took a little longer). Remove from the oven, remove the mold from the water bath, and set a 2 pound weight on top. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled, overnight, or up to 1 week, before serving.
*If you have the butcher grind the meat for you, simply place the seasoning components (onion, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and spice in a food processor and chop finely. Add this mixture to the ground meat along with the panade.
**Try to use pork liver if you can find a reliable source. This will allow you to cook the paté to a lower temperature, resulting in a moist texture.
(makes 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
(from “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn)