Growing up, my two favorite things to order at restaurants were French Onion Soup and the country pâté plate…. It’s no wonder I’m a Francophile with such tastes really! Most people I know similarly love French onion soup and it’s one of my favorite recipes to make on a wintery night… but not many people I know share my love of pate. But rich dabs of pâté on a good piece of bread or a crunchy cracker paired with a little Dijon and some nice salty cornichon pickles… heaven on earth!
And the best thing about pate is that it’s gobs and gobs of meat flavored with garlic and spices… wrapped in bacon! It’s a meat lovers dream!
So for the little Oscar party we had earlier in the month, I decided what’s fancier than homemade pâté?! How hard could that be? I was up for the challenge and scoured recipes trying to find the perfect one. Plus, pates are one of those things like terrines that I’ve been daydreaming about since reading books about culinary school (we can blame Michael Ruhlman, see below). Like aspics, or head cheese, it’s something I want to try my hand at, but have few actual legitimate reasons to just casually make one Sunday afternoon. (If anyone wants me to make head cheese for an upcoming party, please let me know! I’m your gal). #geekingout
But anyway, I finally went with Michael Ruhlman’s pate de campagne recipe, which with some tweaks was quite amazing! Now this is one of the more involved recipes I’ve done lately and it’s definitely an all day affair… but the results were amazing and well earned! It’s a lot of meat too. We were basically eating pate for days (though if you made it for a large, large party, I’m sure that wouldn’t be an issue).
For this pate, you’ll need:
2 lb ground pork*
4 ounces chicken liver, minced
1/4 cup diced white onion
8 tbsp diced flat-leaf parsley
1½ tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
*½ tsp pate spice recipe follows
½ lb bacon
*I don’t have a meat grinder, so I just chopped everything as finely as I could. It worked out fine for me!
After you’ve combined the above ingredients, mix in your pate spice.
*Confession of the day: I was supposed to add ½ teaspoon of said pate spice and ended up adding ALL OF TIME…. It was very clovey. But, all in all, it had good flavor!
Next, you’ll need to mix the panade which includes, 2 tbsp flour, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp brandy and ½ cup heavy cream. As I learned, a panade is a thick paste used for binding meatballs, fish cakes, forcemeats and quenelles.
So now you’ve got your pate mixed; it’s spiced and it has a ton of raw meat so how ever are you supposed to know if it tastes good!? Now, it took me a little while to figure this stage out, but to test the seasoning in raw meat, you do a “quenelle test.” Quenelles are softly poached dumplings commonly made from fish or meat, shaped into almost a half moon with two spoons. For this, take a bit of the meat mixture and form between two spoons, gently transferring the quenelle into a plastic bag. Then poach the quenelle (within the plastic bag) and once cooked, you’ll be able to sample it! Adjust seasoning as needed. Isn’t that clever? Such a fancy schmancy culinary trick.
After you’ve tasted it… and realized you put way too much pate spice in as was the case with me… it’s time to wrap a loaf pan in bacon and spoon in your pate mixture, pushing out any air pockets.
You’ll want to then wrap the whole thing in foil and bake in a water bath at 300 degrees F for about an hour and a half. It should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
Once cooked, set heavy cans on top and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, until completely chilled. Afterwards, you’ll have this beautiful hunk of meat wrapped in bacon!
Serve with dijon mustard and cornichon pickles and some crackers! After the time that goes into this pâté, it’s one of the dishes I’m the most proud of making! Look at me go!
And just to paint you a picture, I cooked this pâté one evening and the next morning we still hadn’t gotten a chance to try it. So there i am in my PJs, cutting off slabs of pâté and munching on crackers and pickles. I don’t think many twenty-four years old can say they just casually make and consume pâté on a Sunday morning with their roommate. What a life I lead!
- 2 lb ground pork
- 4 ounces chicken liver, minced
- ¼ cup diced white onion
- 8 tbsp diced flat-leaf parsley
- 1½ tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- *½ tsp pate spice recipe follows
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp brandy
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ lb bacon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground corinader
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp white pepper
- Combine the pork, chicken liver, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in the pate spice.
- Mix the flour, eggs, brandy and heavy cream to form a thick paste. Add it to the meat mixture.
- Taste and adjust seasoning by forming a quenelle and poaching within a plastic bag.
- Wrap a loaf pan in bacon and spoon in your pate mixture, pushing out any air pockets.
- Wrap the loaf pan in foil and bake in a water bath at 300 degrees F for an hour and a half. It should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
- Once cooked, set heavy cans on top and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, until completely chilled.