Pâté de Campagne

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Appetizers | Pate de Campagne

(French country-style pork terrine)

This rustic recipe is probably the easiest (and cheapest) of all French pâtés to make. Because the meat isn't fully pureed, pâté de campagne has a great texture, complemented by the earthy flavor of liver. Try this recipe when you want something impressive for dinner parties, but not something that will eat up all your time. Leftovers with a side salad and bread are great for a simple meal.

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10 to 12 servings as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • Pork shoulder -- 2 1/2 pounds
  • Pork or chicken liver -- 1/2 pound
  • Shallots or onion, finely chopped -- 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, minced -- 1 or 2 cloves
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Heavy cream -- 1/2 cup
  • Eggs, lightly beaten -- 2
  • Flour -- 3 tablespoons
  • Cognac or brandy -- 2 tablespoons

Method

  1. Trim the pork shoulder of most of its fat and cut it into 1-inch chunks. Trim the liver of any gristle and chop roughly. Place the pork butt, liver, shallots or onion, parsley, salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix well. At this point you can chill the ingredients overnight if you like.
  2. Working in batches, add the meat mixture to a food processor and pulse until the meat is well chopped but still chunky. Return about 1/3 of the meat mixture and process until it is smoother, but still has some texture. Stir it back into the rest of the meat mixture.
  3. Add the heavy cream, eggs, flour and cognac or brandy to a bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth. Stir into the meat mixture.
  4. Make a small patty with some of the meat and cook it in a skillet. Taste the patty and adjust salt and other seasonings to taste. The meat should be well seasoned.
  5. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a pâté or terrine mold or a 1 1/2-quart glass nonreactive loafpan with plastic wrap, leaving extra wrap hanging over the side. Pour the meat mixture into the mold. Smooth it out and tap the mold on the counter to get rid of any air pockets. Bring the extra plastic wrap up over the top of the pâté and cover the mold with a lid or aluminum foil.
  6. Place the mold into a heatproof baking dish large enough to hold it and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the mold. Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the pâté reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
  7. Remove from the oven, cool completely, then refrigerate overnight or for up to 1 week. Use the extra plastic wrap to lift the pâté out of its mold. Serve sliced with baguette, cornichons and Dijon mustard.

Variations

  • Pâté Grand-Mère: Use 1 1/2 pounds of pork butt and 1 1/2 pounds of pork liver. Substitute 2 slices of white bread for the flour. Soak the bread in the cream and break it up before whisking it into the eggs.
  • Quatre Épices Seasoning: This spice mixture, meaning "four spices," is commonly used in France to season sausages and pâtés. Mix together 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1 /2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of this mixture in your pâté.
  • Other Seasonings: Other common seasonings for country pâtés include thyme, coriander, cinnamon, fennel and juniper berries. Top your pâté with whole bay leaves and sprigs of thyme.
  • Instead of using a food processor, put the meat through the coarse die of a meat grinder. Then put 1/3 of the meat through a fine die and mix it back in to the rest of the meat.
  • Instead of plastic wrap, line the mold with 8 to 10 thin slices of fatback or good quality bacon. Let the ends hand over the side of the mold and fold them over the meat after you add it. Use a couple more pieces to cover the top of the meat.
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