I’ve always had a fascination with pâté. There are so many variations, from dense to creamy, but they all have that rich flavor in common. You can also make pâté from a variety of foods, including ground pork, chicken livers, vegetarian ingredients like mushrooms and lentils, and then there’s foie gras.
Now before you start dissing me, I’m not a fan of pâtés made from foie gras. Foie gras in French is literally “fat liver,” where they force-feed corn to ducks or geese to fatten their livers well beyond the animals’ normal capacity for gluttonous consumption.
In California, they’ve actually outlawed the production and sale of foie gras.
But I do enjoy duck, and pâtés are such a treat whenever you have parties because you can make them days ahead of time. Also, they’re a substantial appetizer, which means you won’t have to have a lot of other things on your buffet table to keep your guests happy while you get your main course ready.
It did take me a while but I finally came up with a country-style pâté with enough creamy texture (think liver) without an overwhelming taste of liver as to turn off those who are, well, turned off by liver.
Whether you serve your pâté with sweet mini-pickles, cornichons, or a high-quality mustard is up to you. With any country-style pâté, the texture is dense enough that it won’t spread, so you’ll want to serve it with crackers that won’t fall apart — toasted pita chips or toasted baguette slices would be better.
I like the rustic flavor that the duck meat gives this pâté, but if you’re not a fan of duck you can simply leave it out. I prepared the pâté both ways and it was equally delicious.
Savory Oregon Country-style Pâté
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) butter
- ¾ of a pound to 1 pound (340-454 gr.) chicken livers
- 1 cup (240 ml.) minced shallots
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- ¾ cup brandy (180 ml. – I used Clear Creek Distillery’s Oregon Pot Distilled Brandy)
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) dried cherries or cran-cherries
- 1½ pounds (680 gr.) high-quality ground pork
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.)dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.)allspice
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup (80 ml.) whipping cream
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) shelled pistachios
- 18 slices applewood-smoked bacon
- 2 boneless and skinless duck breasts
- Set oven rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 350 ºF (177 ºC).
- Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add chicken livers and sauté until cooked. Remove livers and process in food processor until smooth.
- Add shallots to same pan that you used to cook chicken livers and sauté until soft and translucent. Add crushed garlic and stir.
- Add brandy and cran-cherries and stir, lower heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. Turn off and let cool.
- Combine pork, pureed chicken livers, salt, thyme, allspice and pepper in a bowl and stir until incorporated. Add beaten eggs, cream, reduced brandy and shallots, and pistachios. Stir until well blended.
- Line a metal loaf pan with bacon slices, arranging 3 slices across the bottom, and 3 slices on each side. Cut several bacon strips in half and use them to line the short ends of the loaf pan.
- Using hands, lightly and evenly fill half of the loaf pan with the meat mixture and press gently. Lay the 2 duck breasts on top and fill with more meat mixture until nearly to the top of the loaf pan. Gently press to compact meat mixture into the loaf pan. Line the top of the meat mixture with 3 or 4 more strips of bacon.
- Cover loaf pan tightly with foil and place pan in a larger baking pan or Pyrex pan. Pour boiling water into the larger baking pan until halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.
- Place in oven and bake until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf pan registers 155 ºF (68 ºC), about 2 hours.
- Remove loaf pan, wipe sides with cloth or paper towels and let cool before placing in refrigerator to chill overnight or up to 4 days before serving.
- To remove pâté from loaf pan, place loaf pan in a larger baking dish filled with hot water for about 3 minutes. Invert the loaf pan onto a platter, discard melted or gelatinous fat from platter and wipe clean.
- Cut pâté into ½-inch slices and serve with sweet mini-pickles or cornichons, and Dijon mustard and bread or crackers.
There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.