Friday, March 9, 2012

Pâté Forestier au Genièvre

On a recent trip to Napa Valley my wife and I sampled some great champagne and nibbled on some of the countries most celebrated Charcuterie. I commented to her that I could make it at home and promised to do it when we returned home from our trip.

She absolutely loves the taste of truffles (who doesn't) so I decided that Pâté Forestier au Genièvre would be a good one to make for her. The keys to making a great Pâté starts with the quality of the ingredients, patience, and diligence of the person making it to follow a few simple rules.

Rule #1 - Cut your meat up into chunks, salt it lightly, and partially freeze it before grinding it. If you do this you will come out with a much better texture.

Rule #2 - Toast your spices in a pan and grind them fresh. If you do this the aromatic flavors will just pop in any recipe that you do.

Rule #3 - Make the mix a day ahead and let the flavors develop before assembling and cooking.

Rule #4 - Fry up a dab of the mix the next day and give it a taste to test your seasonings. If it doesn't taste right adjust the seasonings.

Rule #5 - Use a meat thermometer to make sure that you finish at around 160 degrees. You want to make sure that the Pâté is smooth and doesn't crumble. If the temperature is too high all the fat will leave and you will end up with a dry and crumbly terrine.

All the course ground Pâté I make has the same base recipe. The difference between most of them is simply the garnish or what I like to call the money shot. This is where you really get a chance to shine and make things stand out.

Pâté Forestier au Genièvre 

"Course Ground Meats"

1 lb 2 oz Pork Belly
1/4 lb Ground Pork
1/4 lb Ground Veal
1/8 lb Ground Pancetta 

"The Wrapper"

12 slices Prosciutto

"The Binder"

2 Diced Shallots
6 Fresh Garlic Cloves
1/2 cup Diced Onion
1/4 cup Cognac
4 Chicken Livers
2 tbsp Port
1/4 Cup heavy cream
1 Egg 

"The Spices"

1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tbsp Juniper Berries
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Coriander Seed
1/2 Stick Cinnamon Bark

1 tbsp Course Ground Pepper
2 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Pink Salt 

"The Money Shot"

Truffle Salt
Truffle Oil
1/2 cup toasted Walnuts
1 Tbsp Sherry

Cut the meat into chunks and partially freeze. Once meat is around 70% frozen grind it using the course blade.

Marinate chicken livers in cognac a minimum of three hours then combine in food processor with the garlic, shallots, onion, port, cream and egg to form the binder.

Toast Black Pepper, Juniper Berries, Coriander, Cinnamon Bark, and Cloves. Grind them fresh and combine with the Ginger, Nutmeg, Thyme, Salt, and Pink Salt to make the Pâté spice blend.

Combine the ground meat, binder, spices and blend together in a non reactive container. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend together

(I like making a dozen small individual terrines every time I make up a batch of this. We eat a couple and them vacuum pack and freeze the rest. It is great to have something homemade and elegant like that in your freezer that you can thaw out quickly and serve to guests.)

The next day you want to toast up half a cup of walnuts in a pan and then chop them up.

Next you saute your mushrooms with a little olive oil. Finish with sherry and truffle salt. Once the mixture cools add truffle oil to build the flavor. Mix mushrooms and walnuts with the forcemeats.

Line twelve mini loaf pans with plastic cling wrap. Drape the slice prosciutto lengthwise in each pan. Fill each pan with the mixture and wrap up with the prosciutto.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place the loaf pans in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reach half way up (water-bath) the mini loaf pans. Cover the roasting pan with foil and cook until the Pate reaches 135 degrees. At that point take off the foil and cook until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees which allows the prosciutto to crisp up a bit.

Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. Take them out of the molds and remove any excess fat. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate overnight while weighted down.

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