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Point's Thrush Pate/Pate de grives des Freres Troisgros: adequate replacement recommendations

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I've been re-reading Ma Gastronomie and came across the famous Thrush Pate.

It does not appear that the thrush is eaten in this country (or many other parts of the world) any longer, and I don't believe that the local robins would be acceptable considering that wild animals are not to be trapped and consumed without a hunting license.

Questions:

1. Has anyone eaten thrush? If so, what does it taste like?

2. What would be a sufficient bird to replace thrush in the recipe (a dozen thrush are needed...Clean the thrush and leave the livers inside. Discard six of the gizzards so the pate won't be too bitter. Put the thrush through the meat grinder, bones and all...)

Thoughts?

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  1. Ya gotta love the French and their no-nonsense attitude that whatever is edible is therefore food, dogs excepted. I think the EU has kinda cramped their style when it comes to migratory birds, but in this country the ban against hunting or trapping any non-game bird is absolute. The smallest wild birds we're allowed to take for food are doves and quail, both I think larger than thrushes. I'm afraid M. Point's pate is best regarded as a thing from the irrecoverable past, purely to be imagined.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      My current thoughts are to use squab or quail. Squab may be slightly closer, but not having any reference point for what a thrush tastes like, I will have to simply try it out to see what happens.

      1. re: Caralien

        Caralien, I have to admit that I find it very hard to distinguish one small game-bird from another; if you fed me a morsel of dove and another of quail, I'd think both were delicious (and they are, they are!) but I'd have to beg off telling you which was which. Now, I would not choose squab: the thrushes Point would use would be mature birds with a good deal of flying time etcetera, and a squab is an immature fledgeling - the pigeon version of a poussin or pintadeau, and therefore lacking any depth of flavor. I'd go for dove, if I still lived among dove-hunters; lacking that, I'd say quail. Besides, they're fairly cheap if you get frozen, and those are just fine.

    2. Caralien: I ate thrush once at Alain Chapel's 3star in Mionnay. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what it tastes like, because it really didn't have much taste. It was about the size of a quail, but there was just no meat on the bone. I picked at it and tried to eat it, it never occurred to me to send it back. It never should have come out of the kitchen. The restaurant had a private room that was full that night, and Monseur Chapel's attention was split in too many directions.

      I agree with Will Owen about the quail, that's the way to go. Let's say that for a country style pate you would use dove, for a more elegant pate use the quail. My gut reaction is that given the trouble you are going to, quail is the way to go. Good luck, have fun.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pinotho

        thank you both so much. I think I will attempt squab or quail (quail is closer--Griggstown Quail Farm),

        The oddest reaction is that I did not think of The Decadent Cookbook while reading Ma Gastronomie. Pointe was at best the charicature from Brook's Meaning of Life, but I actually really want to know what a thrush tastes like.

        I knew a person who started raising chickens to attract hawks, and thought it odd. Until now.