pate/terrine recipe needed
Terrines are really fun and a nice Sunday afternoon activity. I agree, relax and enjoy.
In my experience, around 5 tries, the challenge is to produce a terrine that isn't too "heavy." Partly this is just not over cooking (keep the juices in the meat not in the pan) but it's also in the ingredients, eggs? cream? as I recall, also the grind - course v fine, and also probably technique (like a hamburger... don't squeeze the meat).
I'd be very interested in other 'Hounds opinions about this.
I make mine differently every time, too. I think that key to the process is cooking it in a slow oven and using a water bath. I once was desperate both to go to bed and get the pate in the oven, so heated it to 400, stuck the pate in, turned off the oven, and went to bed. Worked like a charm. In fact, when I took it out of the terrine after a trip to the refrigerator, there was a perfect jelly on top. I don't know whether this was a function of the cooking method but may try it again.
Does anyone, incidentally, have a fool-proof method for a perfect aspic layer on top? Generally what I've read is that you should pour off the fat and pour in a prepared aspic. Thoughts on aspic pros and cons are welcome, also.
For an upcoming party, have been toying with using this recipe from Daniel Boulud in Elle Decor. His addition of mushrooms and some breadcrumbs might lighten it up:
I also often add a liver mousse as a stripe down the middle, which lightens the overall texture but may make it heavier in another sense. You do have to squeeze (or weight, at least) the meat. Finer grind makes it denser. It's like piecrust too in that everything should be cold--tools, fat, meat--because the meat and other elements should absorb as much of the fat during the cooking process as possible. Fat is lighter. (I can't believe I just wrote that.) And the fact that it's cold makes it diet food, right? :)
Here is a tried and true (must have made it 30 or 40 times) paté recipe using supermarket ingredients for you to start out with. I have ordered fatback, thinly sliced, from John Dewar (Boston-area specialty butcher) and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference from very fatty regular bacon in this recipe.
My Family’s Country Paté (our own recipe)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped in food processor
big slug brandy (don't bother using fine cognac)
2/3 lb EACH ground veal, ground pork and ground dark meat turkey
1/3 lb raw, cleaned chicken livers, chopped in processor
2 cloves minced garlic
1 egg, beaten
generous 1/2 tsp ground allspice (make sure it’s still got flavor)
generous 1 tsp EACH salt and pepper
[Optional additions, choose 1 or 2: shelled pistachios, dried currents, diced dried apricots, 1/4 inch strips of baked ham]
cheap fatty non-smoky bacon (supermarket house brand is often good for this, I use Stop & Shop)
Sauté onion in butter until translucent, add brandy and cook until almost evaporated. Cool. Add to remaining ingredients (including any optional ingredient except ham strips) and mix well. Line 1 1/2 quart loaf pan with bacon, allowing it to hang over the ends so you can fold it over the paté. Pack the paté in firmly, arranging the ham strips in a decorative pattern in the middle if using them. Push down hard to eliminate any air bubbles. Top with a bay leaf and fold the bacon over, covering completely. Tightly cover with a triple layer of aluminum foil. Place in a baking pan and pour hot water halfway up the loaf pan. Bake at 350° to 135° internal temperature, about one hour. Remove, leave covered, and weight with 2 foil-wrapped bricks until cool. Refrigerate, weighted, at least 1 day but preferably 2 days before eating. Remove bacon and bay leaf before serving. Enjoy!
I assume you want the fatback to line the terrine? I'd go to an old fashioned butcher shop and ask them to slice it in thin sheets for me. They may have to order it for you. But you can also line a terrine with bacon and it works just fine. Be careful of smoked or seasoned bacon. If you can't find just plain old bacon-bacon, then I would go for the pepper bacon and scrape off as much of the pepper as possible. It will have a better flavor that will blend with your terrine than a seasoned (maple?) or smoked bacon.
As for forcemeat recipes, there are loads of them on the web. You have to decide whether you want several meats, a coarse or fine texture, and the type of seasonings. It's interesting to learn by experimentation. Good luck!
EDIT: You also asked for pate reccipes. I don't line a terrine for pates. An easy one is to saute chicken livers in butter until just pink in the middle. Depending on how much you're making, you may have to do it in several batches. As you finish each batch, put it in a blender jar or in a food processor. Make sure you have enough to nearly fill your mold. Process to a fairly fine texture, then start adding cold butter cut in pieces. I use about a cube of butter per pound of chicken livers. Sometimes a bit more. You can add butter at any stage. The goal is always texture and flavor. Continue processing until fine. Season with salt to taste, herbs of your choice. I use thyme, rosemary, oregano, terragon, chives, nutmeg, and sometimes a little onion or garlic powder and even sage, but you have to be very careful with these three as they can take over. And never all at the same time! When I use terragon, I like to use white vermouth as the kicker. For other herbs or spices, I use cognac. Add the booze to taste while processing Taste when blended smooth. Correct seasoning as you see fit. Then pour into mold, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. It's the butter content that makes it set into a fine paste that makes a lavish spread for toast or crackers. You can unmold it to serve or serve in the terrine. If you want to be really impressive, you can make a pate en croute from it. I have a lovely old English pate mold that I bake a crust in blind, then fill with the pate. I also make a "lid" for it and decorate it with puff pastry leaves and flowers before baking. People always ooh and ahh at this one! Little do they know how easy it is. '-)
I usually use caul fat to line the terrine, and fatback in the forcemeat mixture. But, fatback can certainly be used as a liner for the terrine. If using fatback for the liner, you may want to have your butcher slice it for you 1/16th" thick on their slicer.
Both caul fat and fatback should be obtainable from a good butcher, but as Caroline1 pointed out, it may need to be special ordered.
As far as the pates and terrines, are there any proteins that you are unwilling to work with?
From the recipes I've seen, I need the fat back for the forcemeat mixture, and I see that one usually lines the terrine with a bacon-like product. Nothing I'm unwilling to work with. Although, for my first attempt, I'd love it if the ingredients were mostly available in my grocery store. I've looked at recipes on the web. There are a ton, and I'm worried about picking the wrong one and investing a ton of time in a sub-par recipe.
Relax and enjoy. I do agree that a first outing should be easy. What's the worse thing that can happen? It won't taste good? Well, feed it to Rover (your's or someone else's) and try again. The great thing is that you're expanding your horizons. Good for you!
One of the things you might do is make a simple pate with only salt as flavoring, then divide it into small portions and try out different herbs and spices (and booze) to see which you like best.
In the basic chicken liver pate recipe I offered above, the butter does basically the same thing as fat back does in other recipes. They both solidify when chilled and neither one is exactly low cholesterol. '-)