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Jun 13, 2009 02:03 PM

Need substitution for Foie Gras in Pate Recipe

A friend gifted me with some pheasant and I found this great recipe for Pheasant, Pork Belly & Foie Gras Terrine. It looks just like what I want to make and I have or can get everything but the Foie Gras. Just doesn't exist for purchase on Cape Cod. Could I use calf's liver instead? TIA.

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  1. No, calves liver is no substitute for foie. You can get some very quickly from D'Artagnan. They can overnight it to you. They are in the Hudson Valley. Check out their website. Also have you checked some of the gourmet shops in your area? Rougie from France makes a very good canned foie. I keep an emergency can in my pantry at all times. Good luck.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      I am assuming the foie gras in the recipe is not cooked which the canned would be. Do you think that makes a difference?

      1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

        I don't think it will matter very much either way. Foie is so full of fat that it has to be minimally cooked even when you get it fresh or raw. If you over cook it you end up with a pan full of fat and nothing else. With fresh slices just walking it past a hot skillet is sufficient.

        i need to know a bit more about your terrine. Is it baked covered in a water bath? If so it is never gong to get very hot. If it is a jellied terrine canned won't make a bit of difference. I recently made a rabbit terrine where the rabbit was cooked in a stock flavored with aromatics. Then the rabbit was boned and shredded. The stock was strained and clarified and had gelatin added to it. Fresh veggies were quickly blanched and all was mixed and poured into a terrine and allowed to set over night in the fridge.

        The photos are of 2 rabbit terrines. The first is baked, the next is the cold jellied terrine.

        1. re: Candy

          Yes it is baked covered in a water bath.

        2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

          At Christmas, for beef wellington, instead of using terrine de foie gras, I whipped up a quick chicken liver pate (with cognac in it) and used that instead. How much foie gras is called for?

          1. re: MMRuth

            I agree - a chicken liver with brandy or cognac would be a nice sub.

            1. re: LulusMom

              I second chicken liver pate. Even organic tubs are under $3/lb.

              Chicken liver pate is not foie (it will not melt on your tongue), but very good. Lightly sear the chicken livers with shallots in butter (keep the insides pink), place into blender, deglaze pan with cognac, and puree the remains.

              Duck liver would be closer, and using goose, duck, or even chicken fat instead of butter would be even better.

        3. re: Candy

          I checked out D'Artagnan and don't think I want to spend $35-80 for foie gras (plus shipping). Thanks for the advice though.

        4. Here are the ingredients:
          1 whole pheasant, boneless, skinless, meat cut into strips. (you can have your butcher do this for you)
          14 ounces pork belly, cubed
          6 ounces fresh foie gras, denerved and deveined, cut in chunks
          5 ounces chicken livers
          1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
          2 tablespoons dry white wine
          1 tablespoon cognac
          1 sprig of thyme, leaves chopped
          1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pink salt
          1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
          ΒΌ teaspoon four-spice (ground black pepper, ground cinnamon, ground
          nutmeg and ground cloves in equal parts)
          3 ounces country bacon, cut into chunks
          3 ounces smoked bacon, cut into chunks

          6 Replies
          1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

            I suggest just using more chicken livers.

            1. re: fmed

              They taste nothing like foie. One bite and I'd be looking for a way to discreetly dispose of what I put in my mouth. ICK!

              1. re: Candy

                The only thing that tastes like foie is foie. You can just leave it out and re-proportion the rest of the ingredients.

                I'm a fan of chicken liver so the recommendation came from that context. Here are some great tips on how to prep chicken (or duck) livers when substituting them for foie gras.


            2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

              I would be inclined just to leave that ingredient out, and add a couple more ounces of pork belly and chicken livers (and/or chunks of bacon). I think it will still be delicious that way.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Chef Michel Richard's "Faux Gras," made with chicken livers and a lot of butter, tastes astonishingly like foie gras.
                You might add butter and more chicken livers to the recipe in the approximate proportion that he uses in the recipe: 8 ounces of butter to 1 pound of chicken livers. The extra fat might do the trick.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  that's what i was thinking, amp up the fat using butter, along with some more chicken liver.

            3. If you can find a really good grade of pork liver, it will be an acceptable substitute, but it will not be exactly the same a foi gras. Chicken liver, as others have mentioned, will also work. With the chicken liver, I would make a simple basic pate with it first because it is too lean. Saute the chicken livers in butter, put them in the blender, then add more butter and blend smooth. I would not use any seasoning because that can conflict with the overall seasonings of your recipe. If you do find pork liver, I would treat it the same as the ckicken livers and add about 1/4 of its weight in butter, and for chicken livers I would add up to half the weight in butter. The reason for this is that foi gras is so fatty, you can actually render fat out of it by cooking. This does not happen with either pork or chicken liver. Good luck!

              1. Just so I understand- what is being suggested is making a chicken liver pate and then substituting that for the foie gras in the pate recipe for which I have listed the ingredients?

                7 Replies
                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                  Explanation: "Foie gras" translates literally into "fat liver." It is produced by force feeding geese or ducks until their liver is bloated with fat and greatly enlarged. "Foie gras" will melt away to nothing when frying. In fact, the loss of fat during cooking is the sole reason sous vide cooking was invented: to cut the loss.

                  So in a word, yes. To substitute either pork or chicken liver for foie gras, you need to first increse the fat content of either of those livers. The best and easiest way to do it is by makiing a simple, unflavored "pate" by sauteeing the livers in butter, then put them in the blender with additional butter and puree.

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    You also have to take in to consideration that chicken liver, calves liver, pork liver or any other liver other than goose or duck liver are not going to taste the same. One bite of something made with anything other than goose or duck liver will have me looking for some way to get that nasty stuff out of my mouth as discreetly as possible.

                    1. re: Candy

                      The original reference recipe as posted already has 5 ozs of chicken liver in you may not like this particular terrine to begin with.

                      1. re: Candy

                        Not only does it have 5 oz of chicken liver already, but it has a whole pheasant, 14 oz of pork belly, 3 oz of country bacon, and 3 oz of smoked bacon. (Wonder what the difference is between the bacons?)
                        That is probably going to overwhelm any big deal about the foie gras anyway - except on your pocketbook!!!!

                        This is kind of recipe that I'm often likely to change anyway.
                        Why spend $20 or $25 on a minor ingredient that may not be noticed?

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          This kind of terrine is very open to modification for sure. You can pretty much put any kind of meat or fat in there (as long as the fattiness ratio kept optimal) - and it will still be good. Other ideas include - duck fat, pancetta, pork fat, (and more pork fat).

                          1. re: fmed

                            Yeah, the fat is crucial. Pheasant can be quite dry.

                    2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                      Yes that's right...and most are recommending a blend of chicken liver and butter as a base.

                    3. For those in the "add butter to chicken liver" camp when doing a pate: consider adding some lecithin from an inexpensive gelcap from the drugstore.

                      Lecithin is THE emulsifier of fats. It's what's in the egg yolk that we use when we finely suspend fat globules in mayonnaise. In the case of adding butter to liver pate, the lecithin helps the suspension of the liver and the butter. I process the cooked liver, then pull a few ounces into a cup, add the lecithin from the gelcap, stir to incorporate, then spread that mix onto the surface of the pate still in the processor. Then re-process to incorporate. Then add the softened butter across the surface and re-process.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: FoodFuser

                        Great tip FoodFuser....and a nice baby step into molecular cuisine :-)