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Country pate recipe - Help! I'm scurred!

Okay, we're having a country progressive party with our neighbors - each house chooses a country and serves an appetizer influenced by that country and the party moves from house to house - and I chose France. Initially I was going to make gourgeres. I have a great recipe and I've made them many times. But one of the guests in gluten-free and I also wanted to step outside my comfort zone a bit. I was searching Epicurious and found a good pate de campagne that sounded really good and like it would have mass appeal (some neighbors are not adventurous eaters). Here is a link to the recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Is this a good idea? Any tips? I'm concerned about the weighting and the water bath and all the various steps. Should I add pistachios as some reviewers suggested? How would you recommend serving it? Baguette slices toasted or not? Is it served cold or room temp? Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I'm not getting a link to the recipe. No matter though - I have a rough pork terrine in the freezer for Xmas using this recipe - http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/ma....

    Assuming your recipe is similar, then cooking it in a bain marie is the right way to go as it will be a gentler process than just baking. Weighting it down overnight is very much about getting the right texture that will give nice slices.

    As for service, we slice it so it can be eaten with a knife and fork. Usual accompaniements are either cornichons or chutney. Or both. Bread served separately. Room temperature - serving cold would mean no-one would taste anything properly.

    1. Room temp on toasted herb lavash w/ baked brie and cornichons...yum!

      1. I'm looking at making this same recipe as a hostess gift for a New Year's Eve party and I'm nervous too! If you have ANY tips from your experience, I'd appreciate it. FWIW- I had a wonderful country pate at local restaurant with both pistachios and dried apricots so I was planning on trying to incorporate both of those. Also going to try some homemade quick pickles- restaurant served theirs with pickled okra and it was the only time I've ever liked okra.

        Good luck!

        1. the recipe looks good and these sorts of things are actually pretty easy, as well as forgiving, to make. they freeze beautifully, so no day-of-event stress. serve it room temp, with chutney, cornichons and a strong country mustard. i prefer fresh bread, since toast sitting out just gets quickly stale.

          i'd like the addition of pistachios, but would not like dried fruit "inside" it, AT ALL. but that's just me. :)

          1 Reply
          1. I would add pistachios - not so sure about the apricot. The water bath - a tip. I use my roasting pan, put it in the hot oven, put the terrine or loaf pan in the roasting pan, then pour in boiling water from the kettle.

            I have a Le Creuset terrine - I wrap a piece of cardboard that I cut to fit it, wrap it in parchment paper, and then weigh it down with some cans.

            In addition to cornichons, I like pickled onions and a little mustard. Definitely room temperature.

            16 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              Great advice, thank you to you all. I will add the pistachios and chutney as a side with the cornichons and mustard.

              Question, how much pistachios and what kind are best? TIA!

              1. re: lynnlato

                A handful or two? I also like berry flavored things with pate - some kind of compote. Or a wine jelly.

              2. re: MMRuth

                Tip for the weighing it down - use the lid of a wine crate cut to fit your terrine wrapped in foil. I find this to be even better than cardboard (which I have used in the past). I always make foie gras for Christmas gifts for those at the top of my list and was really getting fed up with the soggy cardboard from the fat and then came up with the idea of something more solid.

                Works a charm every time.

                Good luck!

                1. re: marsprincess

                  I wish I was at the top of your Christmas list! ;-)


                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Unfortunately it is not legal to bring in or ship foie gras to the states that is not in a tin - as I have sadly found out in the past. :-(((

                    This year bringing tinned foie gras home - but at least it is from the Gers in France, the land of foie gras and Armagnac!

                    But as my friends around here anxiously await their yearly present, I have informed them that they will receive new year's foie gras this year instead of the usual Christmas version!

                    1. re: marsprincess

                      in a sealed glass jar is legal, too...so long as it's a commercially prepared, hermetically sealed container with an expiration date at least three years past the date of packaging stamped (not handwritten) on the package.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Ah - but the time I brought it in a glass jar - lovingly prepared by me in the pressure cooker and sealed appropriately, the customs meany took it away! I begged her not to throw it in the bin, but by the way she was looking at it I don't think she was someone who appreciated the wonderfulness that foie gras is. Sigh....

                        1. re: marsprincess

                          "prepared by me" is the key word there. They will take away anything that even looks to have been prepared anywhere but a commercial packing house.

                          Note the "commercially prepared" part of my comment.

                          Next time make yourself an official looking label...with an expiration date on it.

                2. re: MMRuth

                  I think you may find Caul Fat by special order at an independant butcher shop; better than cardboard or other attempts to reign it in.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    don't think I would add dried fruit to a country pate. My recipe uses both pork and chicken (or duck) livers and toasted hazelnuts. Wish I had time to make some before Christmas!

                    I serve mine with cornichons and grainy mustard (from Beaune).

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Good advice, MMR. I've been toying with the idea of making one for the first time also. I love pistachios in pate but I'd do dried apricots on the side with the other things.

                      ll, please report back and give the rest of us courage :

                      1. re: c oliver

                        It's really just like making meatloaf, with a couple of twists.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Hmm. Y'all keep saying that. But, yeah, it's on my short list for 2011. It IS one of my favorite foods.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            OK, it is in the fridge, weighted and chilling. I don't know why people think it is so easy. There are so many steps... I had a minor breakdown midway through it and sent my SO a nasty text ranting about having to do everything, blah, blah, blah... I had thought he had used the bacon i had in the fridge for the pate. Ha!

                            At this point, I'm hoping for deliciousness. I'll definitely report back to y'all and let you know the final outcome. I really do appreciate all the advice and support.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              Aw, man, I knew it wasn't going to be that easy. I think accusing SOs is very cathartic :) When is the party?

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Ha! It was VERY cathartic! Tomorrow night, c oliver. I wanted to have this all done and chiling for a couple of days but the holidays have consumed me. I'm not certain there will be a next time either. Okay, maybe there will be but definitely not over the holidays. For all the time, money and energy I spent I might as well go to Dean & DeLuca!

                    2. There are a number of steps, but I have always been rather amazed by how simple making a country pate can be. If you make it with tasty ingredients, it will be good. For the weights, I used bricks wrapped in foil. [Same bricks I use for gravlax, vegetables terrines, etc.]

                      Pistachios are often included, though it isn't my personal preference.

                      Room temperature with a relish tray of cornichons, pickled onions [often in the same bottle], mustard, and some French bread not toasted. I also like to have some sliced apples and/or grapes nearby.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: smtucker

                        that's the way most folks serve it in France...with the addition of a little mustard (grainy or Dijon or both, as you wish) the pistachios are usually IN the pate...and not too common to see chutney with it.

                        I realize the taste is absolutely not the same, but if you think of it as meatloaf (prep-wise) it makes more sense and reduces the intimidation factor substantially.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          "and not too common to see chutney with it."

                          Pretty sure I've never had chutney with pate in France. It's not something that really features in their cuisine by way of preserves.

                          1. re: Harters

                            heehee...Harters, I was trying to be subtle, but you're spot-on.

                            I've never seen it served with anything sweet at all, actually...just cornichons, pickled onions, and sometimes mustard.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Here in the UK, it's very common for us to serve a fruity chutney with a coarse pate or terrine. Works well in cutting through the fatty texture, particularly if you also have something vinegary like the cornichons.

                        2. re: smtucker

                          <For the weights, I used bricks wrapped in foil. [Same bricks I use for gravlax, vegetables terrines, etc.]>

                          heheh and if you don't have any bricks, full cans of tomatoes work quite well. :)

                        3. If I may tack on again, another question about the recipe- it calls for ground pork, but I'm not sure if my super-market regularly carries ground pork. If you were to grind your own, what cut of pork would you use to start? I'm getting a kitchenaid mixer for Christmas and this recipe will probably be my first opportunity to use the grinder attachment, but I've never attempted grinding meat before. Any suggestions/tips welcome, thanks.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: mjhals

                            I buy a shoulder and grind away. With the leftover ground pork, I generally make some sausage [patties are fine] and some of Dunlop's recipes from Land of Plenty. I make the pork chunks about 2" x 1" so that it feeds into the tube easily. Chill the meat for about 20 minutes along with the blade and grinding plate. Keep everything as cold as possible so that the fat doesn't melt while being ground.

                            1. re: smtucker

                              Do you use the coarse or fine plate? When I make sausage I use the coarse one but have been thinking about doing some finer. I think the finer would be better for pate.

                            2. re: mjhals

                              You need something fatty. Belly would be ideal; shoulder otherwise. Fortunately, minced pork is always available where I am. - I even managed to find some from free-range pigs this year

                              1. re: Harters

                                For those not wanting to grind their own, I don't think itwould be a big deal to ask the butcher to grind some for you.

                            3. I've been wanting to make this pate too...
                              One of the ingredients is ham steak. Can anyone tell me what exactly this is? Is this precooked stuff you buy from supermarket or do they have a cut called ham steak?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Monica

                                it's a big slice of a cured ham -- look for it in the butcher's case. If you can't find it, just substitute the same amount by weight of ham...they're looking for lean, boneless ham.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Look for the slice in the section in your Super Market where the bacon/sausage etc. is carried.
                                  Smithfield has a cured ham (not country ham), that is sold as a breakfast meat.

                              2. just saw a lovely country pate on jacques and julia. here is jacque's recipe (not from the show, but pretty much the same): http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pate...
                                on the show, he used caul fat instead of bacon, as a liner...and instead of sherry, he splashed in some white wine. but otherwise, both recipes have brandy.

                                as to your questions: add the pistachios, heck yeah -- maybe a cupful! you can layer in chicken livers (down the center, for a neat presentation once sliced) and ham strips, too. like this: http://blogs.bainbridgereview.com/bai...

                                don't slice the bread in advance, don't toast, either.

                                serve pate at room temp.

                                serve with black (french, not canned, of course) olives, cornichons, grainy mustard on the side.

                                make a pretty platter with the pate slices laid out on (dry) butter lettuce leaves, put a lot of cornichons on one side, and olives on the other, then a side dish of the mustard, and a bread board for folks to slice off some country bread (with a nice crust).

                                for a little different accompaniment, try using some of those hot pickled green beans, too.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Thanks my sister! Your specific serving suggestions are just what I needed. And I have a jar of Rick's Picks pickled green beans in my fridge just waiting to be opened!

                                2. I've never had pate covered with bacon slices when I've had it in restauarants. Is this common? Can I skip this step?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Snorkelvik

                                    Lining the terrine with bacon slices is a fairly common feature of some recipes, particularly those where the fat content is not as high as others. Can generally be skipped for most pates - but you'd certainly want to do it if you making , say, a game one.

                                  2. Lynn, I am so glad you posted this! I was looking at the exact same recipe and having the exact same misgivings. I think now I'm confident enough to just jump in.

                                    Hey, just a thought, since you have a gluten free eater. If she or he is like me (sensitive to even bread crumbs) you may want to pre-carve her a clean slice and set it aside from crumb-land, or if you're having a laid back evening, tell your other guests to let her take the first whack, so she avoids crumbs. For some of us that's a real killer, and it would be such a bummer if it was cross-contaminated before she had a slice! I'm sure it'll be delicious.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Vetter

                                      Thanks, Vetter, glad we were riding the same wave. I am going to take alkapal's suggestion and have a loaf on a separate cutting board for folks to slice their own bread. That alkapal, she's a wise one!

                                      Hey, good luck and be sure and post how yours came out. I have a brick from the demolition of my family's favorite diner back home in PA. It closed down and was demolished to make room for stupid office buildings. I will wrap it in foil and use it to weight the pate and it will hopefully bring me some good food vibes. ;-)

                                    2. UPDATE: Success!!!! I am thrilled to report that the pate was delicious and a huge hit at the party! The texture was smooth and it was very rich and creamy. I was SO nervous about inverting it. I put the bread pan (didn't have a terrine) in a hot water bath for 3 minutes and inverted it on a platter and it fell out perfectly. I've attached a couple of cell phone pics. The photo quality isn't very good. This isn't how it was presented to guests. I just tried to capture the cross cut. Oh, and I LOVED the addition of the pistachios - pretty and nice texture.

                                      For those of you who haven't made this before, I encourage you to do it - if I can do it anyone can!

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                        Wow! That looks fantastic. So looking back on it, it sounds like your earlier angst is more than offset by your success??? I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks, ll.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Yes, c oliver, I think so. And knowing that I don't have to do it again anytime soon. Ha! But now I at least know what to expect when I try again. FYI, the recipe makes a lot of pork mix. I had a ton left over and didn't have an extra pan to bake the extra. I froze it and am not sure what I will do with it. I thought about maybe frying it and eating it on some brioche - wow! But the mix could've easily filled 2 terrines. Good luck with yours!

                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                            lynn, when you thaw the frozen meat mix, you can use it to bake brioche dough filled with the pate. i also saw this on julia and jacques! so pretty.

                                            and many congratulations on a beautiful job. another great aspect is to think how much money you saved (vs. purchasing pate), and that you had control over the ingredients, spices, etc.

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Ooooh, brilliant alkapal, thank you!!! That is what I will do! Wait, is the pate baked before filling the brioche dough?

                                              Either way, that sounds heavenly.

                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                it is first cooked by poaching as a "tube" shape wrapped in plastic (?) then heavy-duty foil; once cooked, then it is baked in the proofed brioche dough.

                                                see jacques' explanation here (it is lyonnaise, "saucisse en brioche") http://books.google.com/books?id=EWSV...

                                                i found much more when i searched the words "saucisson en brioche": http://www.google.com/images?client=s...

                                                elizabeth david: http://books.google.com/books?id=5PbU...

                                                nyt recipe: http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/311...

                                        2. re: lynnlato

                                          Looks fabulous - congratulations. Now, next year, you have to make a terrine de foie gras!

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            You are out of your mind! Ha! Although, that is my most favorite thing evvvva. :)

                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                              I made one a couple of years ago for a friend for Christmas. Divine.

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                I'm so jealous that you have access to the ingredients for anything you want to cook. I certainly don't.

                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                              Terrine de foie gras is ridiculously easy...after I made one last year, I was looking around the kitchen, thinking, "wait, that's all there is to it?"

                                              Denerving the foie is a PITA, but after that, it's kid stuff.

                                            3. re: lynnlato

                                              lynn, that's fantastic. well done. just remember this is the kind of dish to which you needn't be enslaved by a recipe. originally, these were peasant foods designed to use up bits and scraps. once you feel comfortable with the technique don't worry so much about 1/2 a teaspoon of this or that.

                                              and they are brilliant to make-ahead and have in the freezer.