Classic French pate that is rich, tender and moist. This Dairy-free recipe is made with organ meat, seasoned with aromatic spices and a good glug of cognac.
Pâté de Campagne is a coarse pork and live pâté that is found everywhere in France, being a restaurant staple and available to buy by the slice from most butcher’s shops. The perfect pâté should be rich and moist, so the trick is to make sure that the pâté does not dry out in the oven and become crumbly when sliced. This is achieved through copious amounts of pig fat, and cooking in a water bath. Wrapping (or ‘barding’) the pâté with pig fat provides a constant basting mechanism as the fat renders out during cooking. The water bath, meanwhile, insulates the pâté from direct heat as the surrounding water cannot exceed 100°C/212°F.
Pâté is best prepared 2 days in advance of eating, to give the flavours time to meld and mature. This makes it stress-free dinner party fare, that can be made ahead of time and served as a starter with a simple green salad or cornichons. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a week, so is a good thing to have up your sleeve during the holiday season when you might find yourself entertaining unexpected guests!
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used lard)
- 1/2 onion (65g), peeled and very finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 250g pigs’ liver
- 500g minced pork shoulder
- 250g minced pork backfat
- 200g caul fat (if you can’t get hold of caul, use 12 streaky bacon rashers)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F.
- Saute the onion and garlic. Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 4 minutes, until translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Prepare the terrine. Line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin with pig fat.
- if using caul: on a chopping board, gently open out the caul so that it is a single layer thick. You should see a transparent membrane surrounded by a lacy fretwork of white veins. Line the loaf tin with strips of the caul, leaving enough overhang to cover the top when filled.
- if you are using bacon: stretch the bacon with the back of a large knife. Line the loaf tin with the bacon, keeping a few rashers back to cover the top.
- Puree the liver. Roughly chop the liver, and place in the small bowl of a food processor. Blitz until smooth then scrape out into a large mixing bowl (if you do not have a food processor, then finely chop the liver).
- Combine the ingredients. Add the remaining pate ingredients, except for the caul fat (onion and garlic mix, pork mince, egg, thyme, cognac, salt, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and coriander). Use you hands to mix together until well blended, breaking up the mince and working in the seasoning.
- Spoon the pâté mixture into the loaf tin, pushing down with the back of the spoon to compact the mixture. This will squeeze out any air bubbles, which will otherwise oxidise the surrounding meat, causing it to turn an unattractive grey colour.
- Cover the loaf tin snugly with a double layer of tin foil. Place in a roasting tray. Pour in just-boiled water from the kettle, until it comes two-thirds of the way up the sides. Transfer to the lowest shelf of the preheated oven, where the heat is gentlest.
- Cook the terrine. Cook for 1 hour 30 – 45 minutes. When done, the juices should run clear when a skewer is inserted, and an internal meat thermometer should read 71°C/160°F. The pâté will have shrunk away from the sides, and be surrounded by a large pool of fat. Resist the temptation to drain off the excess fat, as this will be reabsorbed as the pâté cools, keeping it moist. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Place a couple of food tins or other heavy items on top to compact the mixture and make it easier to slice. Leave overnight, and eat within 1 week.
- To serve, turn out of the tin onto a chopping board and slice. You can trim the slices to remove the outer layer of fat if you prefer (the caul fat / bacon lining is for moistening the meat while it cooks, and is not intended for eating). For best results, remove from the refrigerator half an hour before serving to bring up to room temperature.