Patés and terrines are a hallmark of any chef trained in the art of Garde Manger. Dating back to the middle ages in Europe these cold spiced meat loaves, for lack of better term, have stood the test of time and are still served today in some of the finest restaurants and charcuteries in the country. Patés made from meat are basically broken up into these major categories; country paté or paté de campagne, mousse of paté, paté en croute, and terrine. The majority of patés are made with pork, and pork fat, however, many other types of meat are also used. Typically the most popular types are chicken, duck, rabbit, venison, pheasant and quail. Duck liver and foie gras (fatty goose liver) create luxurious patés and terrines as well.
The base for classic patés that are made with meat is divided into four types: straight forcemeat, mousseline, country style and gratin style forcemeat. Once the forcemeat is made the mix is then put into baking molds called terrines and are often garnished with diced meats, foie gras, nuts and dried fruits. The types of garnishes that are used depends on the type of paté that is being made. The garnishes can be in-layed in a random fashion or in precise layers to give the paté a more unique appearance when sliced.
Duck liver and foie gras are also used often in patés and terrines to give the paté a richer mouth feel and delicate flavor. Duck liver can be used to make a basic delicious paté when blended with sautéed apples and caramelized onions. Easy to prepare at home this paté is not baked in the oven; it is cooked on the stove, chilled and then pureed with butter. The first step to make it is to marinate the duck liver in port wine, sherry and brandy along with spices. After marination, the liver is sautéed along with onions and apples. After this is done the mixture is cooled to room temperature and in the final step pureed with butter to create a delectable spreadable paté as shown in the photo topped with a port wine gelee.
Duck Liver and Apple Paté
Serve with crackers or French bread croustades
1 large duck liver
1 tsp. brandy
1 tsp. port wine
1 tsp. dry sherry
Duck Roasting Spice to taste
¼ cup chopped onions
½ apple peeled, cored, and diced
2 tsp. chopped parsley
2 Tbl cold butter
Rendered Duck fat for cooking (oil or clarified butter can be substituted)
Duck Roasting Spice
1 TBL ground bay leaves
1 TBL ground thyme
1 TBL rubbed sage
½ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground mace
2 Tbl kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 TBL ground black pepper
- Blend all together in a coffee grinder and store in a sealed jar. Use for duck liver paté or for roasted duck.
Duck Liver Paté
- Marinade the duck liver in the Brandy, Port wine, and the Sherry along with some Duck Roasting Spice for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
- In sauté pan over medium high heat, sear off the duck liver with a pinch of Duck Roasting Spice, in a tablespoon of rendered duck fat, then remove and chill in the refrigerator.
- Return the pan to the stove and sauté the onions until lightly caramelized and then reduce the heat to medium and add the apples and cook until tender.
- Add to the liver and chill slightly.
- In a small food processor chop the liver with the apples and onions a fine meal is formed.
- Add the parsley and cold butter and puree until smooth.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed and then fill small dishes and chill until firm.
- Cover with warm clarified butter (or prepare a port wine gelee and cover the top of the dishes) and refrigerate until set.
- Serve with croustades, French bread or crackers.
Another one of my favorite patés is made with smoked chicken, dried apricots, ham, and pistachios bound with a chicken breast mousseline wrapped in prosciutto ham. It was featured in an article that I wrote for the National Culinary Review (the official magazine of the American Culinary Federation) in the May edition.
A chicken mousseline which is one of the four types of forcemeat is extremely delicate and smooth. It is made from marinated chicken breast with brandy, shallots, and herbs and then ground and pureed with half its weight of the heavy cream and finally seasoning with salt and white pepper. Mousseline style forcemeat can also be made with fish as well to be used in the production of seafood terrines.
Paté en Croute (paté in crust) is one of the most complicated types of patés to prepare because of its different components along with the various procedures used to make them. They can be filled with many different types of forcemeat. This image is of a duck paté en croute made with a straight forcemeat. The forcemeat is made with duck meat, pork, pork fat, duck liver, cognac and spices. The forcemeat is then mixed with diced duck breast meat, foie gras and pistachios. A buttery dough is then prepared and a special paté en croute mold is then lined with the dough followed with thinly sliced pork backfat. The next step is to is to fill the dough-lined mold with the forcemeat and then cover it with a lid of more dough. Prior to baking, small round holes are cut in the top dough so as to allow the steam to escape and to create an opening in the top of the paté so that a gelee or aspic can be poured into the paté after it is cooked and chilled This is done to fill up the space in the top of the paté and to add an interesting texture profile to the finished paté en croute.
In this image, I served the paté en croute with a pearl onion and raisin chutney, arugula and pickled carrots.
Patés and terrines have a long history and there are many types still served today in some of the finest kitchens. In my latest article written for the National Culinary Review, I featured five chefs who create and serve patés in their restaurants. The article can be found at Digital Version of the National Culinary Review
One of the chefs that I interviewed for the article is Brian Polcyn, chef instructor and co- author of the book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Curing and Smoking. He is in process of writing a new book due out soon, entitled Pâté, Terrines, and Rillettes: A New Look at the Classics. His first book is excellent and I am sure his paté book will be just as good and I eagerly await it.
Another great resource and one of my favorite books, although published years ago, is Paté and Terrines published in 1984 and written by Edouard Longue, Michael Raffael & Others.
From the simple patés and humble country style terrines to the more elaborate paté en croute these types of cold food masterpieces will always garner praise and be the centerpiece of many cold food displays. I hope you enjoy reading my post about them and try to make some in your kitchen as well. Bon Appetit!