Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.
As usual, this challenge became license to run amok in the Monkeyshines household. It certainly exposed what we both enjoy so much about the Daring Cooks: that we have a reason to make things that we might otherwise not have thought of or have ever dared to try. And try we did – while some of our creations were more successful than others, we really enjoyed the challenge and look forward to making pâté and terrines again. Mrs. Monkeyshines, a very picky eater truth be told, was delighted that she could eat pâté without those nagging doubts about what sort of scary ingredients might be lurking within.
Our lineup included:
Country style terrine
Wild mushroom pate
Summer fruit terrine
Duck pate with wine-glazed shallots en croute
Chicken pate with spring vegetables (a Monkeyshines in the Kitchen original!)
Served with assorted breads including:
5 grain sourdough baguettes
So June was not exactly a good month for our monkeyish figures. Or our cholesterol. But it was fun. And, since this post is already running long, we’re not going to go into the details on bread – they were each basic recipes, mostly from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. If you want more details, please leave a comment to that effect.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 large)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice or 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons Cognac or other brandy
1/2 lb chicken livers, trimmed
½ lb ground pork belly
½ lb lean pork loin
1/2 lb ground veal
12 bacon slices (about 3/4 lb)
Assemble and marinate terrine:
Cook onion in butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Grind peppercorns and bay leaf in mortar and pestle, add salt, allspice and nutmeg, then mix. Add to onion mixture and whisk in cream, eggs, and brandy until combined well.
Chop the chicken livers, then add to onion mixture along with ground pork and veal and mix together well. We simply ground the livers along with the meats, but they were so soft that chopping by hand probably would have worked better.
Line bottom and long sides of terrine mold crosswise with about 6 to 9 strips of bacon, arranging them close together (but not overlapping) and leaving a 1/2- to 2-inch overhang. Fill terrine evenly with ground-meat mixture, pressing to compact it. Cover top of terrine lengthwise with 2 or 3 more bacon slices if necessary to cover completely, and fold overhanging ends of bacon back over these. Cover terrine with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours to marinate.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
Discard plastic wrap and cover terrine tightly with a double layer of foil. Bake terrine in a water bath until thermometer inserted diagonally through foil at least 2 inches into center of terrine registers 155 to 160°F, 1 3/4 to 2 hours. Let terrine stand in mold on a rack 30 minutes to cool.
Place another loaf pan or a piece of cardboard cut to size and wrapped in foil on top of the terrine. Put 2 to 3 (1-pound) cans on top of this cover to weight cooked terrine. Chill terrine in pan with weights until completely cold, at least 4 hours. Continue to chill terrine, with or without weights, at least 24 hours to allow flavors to develop.
Run a knife around inside edge of terrine and let stand in mold in a pan with 1 inch of hot water (to loosen bottom) 2 minutes. Tip terrine mold (onto cutting board, and gently wipe outside of terrine (bacon strips) with a paper towel. Let terrine stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
This also was delicious – in fact we were completely unable to choose a favorite between the country terrine and the mushroom pate though we certainly sampled both extensively. We made a half recipe, and it made quite a lot. The full recipe is included here.
Also adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (by substituting vegetable stock, you could get this a lot closer to vegetarian)
1 ounce (1 cup) dried porcini mushrooms
4 Tbsp (2 oz) unsalted butter
5 oz minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
3/4 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed leaving stems intact, and caps thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
1 ounce almonds ground in a mortar and pestle or food processor
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make the pâté:
Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove pan from heat, add porcini, and let soak in hot stock until softened, about 30 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer porcini to a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Press on porcini to remove excess liquid, then add this to soaking liquid and reserve. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and put in a large bowl.
Strain reserved soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or dampened paper towel into another small saucepan. Bring to a brisk simmer over moderate heat and simmer until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Add to porcini.
Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add sherry and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a blender. Add another tablespoon of butter to the same skillet and add the shiitake mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Reserve a few nice mushroom slices for garnish, then place half the shiitakes in the bowl with the porcini and the other half in the blender with the shallots. Repeat this process with the oyster mushrooms.
Add cream, then eggs and almonds to blender and purée until mixture is very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add purée to porcini mixture and stir in parsley, thyme, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper until well combined.
Place the reserved mushroom strips on the bottom of your loaf pan or other pate mold, then pour mixture into loaf pan and cover with foil.
Put loaf pan in a larger baking pan and add enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of loaf pan. Bake until set 1/2 inch from edges, about 50 minutes (pâté will not be completely set in center). Remove loaf pan from baking pan and let cool to room temperature on a rack. Refrigerate pâté in loaf pan, covered, for at least 6 hours.
Summer fruit terrine
This one was honestly a disappointment. We both generously offered each other the leftovers. And we both chose the biscotti option instead. While it looks just beautiful, it tasted just like a slightly refined jell-o salad. It made Mrs. Monkeyshines recall oh so many childhood church potlucks :-( We suggest that there are better uses for such beautiful summer fruit.
However, if you have fond recollections of church potlucks and jell-o salad, you can find the recipe on epicurious.
Duck pate with wine-glazed shallots en croute
Another really delicious pate – and (hooray!) no liver! This recipe is a combination of several that we found and also our own inclinations to not actually follow any particular recipe. It helps to make this in a springform pan or other pan that you can disassemble part way so that the crust can brown (and so you can unmold the thing in the end to serve). Again, I am including a recipe that is about twice what we made – I used a 6” springform pan and there was probably room for another 50% of filling, but the size was just fine for the half recipe too.
2 boneless duck breasts or meat from 4 duck legs (1 3/4 to 2 lb total)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3-4 juniper berries, finely ground
2 tablespoons sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon brandy
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (2 1/2 oz)
For glazed shallots:
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1/2 lb small shallots, peeled and quartered lengthways
350 grams all purpose flour
250 grams butter
4 Tbsp water
Prepare duck terrine:
If using duck legs (which we did), cut the meat off the bones and reserve skin. A boneless breast would be a lot easier, but gets you to the same place. Chill meat and skin with fat, in freezer until firm but not frozen, about 1 hour.
Grind the meat and fat together in a meat grinder (or pulse carefully in a food processor). Add remaining duck terrine ingredients to ground-duck mixture and mix until combined well. Chill, covered with plastic wrap, in refrigerator at least 8 hours to marinate.
Bring wine, vinegar, sugar, salt, thyme, and bay leaf to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add whole shallots and cover surface of liquid with a round of parchment or wax paper. Simmer shallots vigorously until tender, about 40 minutes, then transfer from cooking liquid to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Discard thyme sprig and bay leaf. If liquid isn't syrupy, boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup. Cool these items separately.
Blend the flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the water and mix until it just comes together. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Line and bake terrine:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Roll out 2/3 of the dough in a shape to best suit your pan. As noted above we used a 6” springform. Drape the dough in the pan and press the sides to even out the folds. Add about half the duck. Spread the shallots over the duck, pressing them gently into the meat. Cover with the remaining duck. Press down to compact. Roll out the remaining dough, place on the terrine and crimp the edges together.
Bake terrine for about 50-60 minutes, then unmold the sides of the pan. Return to the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature registers 155 to 160°F, and the crust is nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
Let terrine stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve on plates drizzled with reserved wine syrup.
OK, this one started out in near disaster. Mrs. Monkeyshines, as is customary, found a recipe that looked good, but didn’t actually read it until she was about halfway through making it. It turns out that the recipe she found was composed of pre-cooked chicken and leeks and mushrooms bound in gelatine. Of course she didn’t reach this realization until after she’d poached a whole chicken breast, made chicken stock and started to poach the leeks in the stock. Jell-o salad with meat?! What were these guys thinking?? That was a non-starter. She chucked the recipe in disgust and took a trip to the store to buy more chicken.
And she winged it. And she is (justifiably) proud of her result. This one was perhaps the most photogenic of the pates we tried. We can’t say that it was the best, because they were all really delicious, but this one did hold its own against the others.
1 lb ground chicken meat
¼ cup heavy cream (next time I might omit the cream and use chicken stock instead)
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
2 large leeks – white part only
4-6 stalks of asparagus
1 cup of chicken stock (optional – you could use water if you want)
5-6 slices prosciutto
Make the pate
Wash the leeks cutting them in half to make sure you get all the grit out, then tie them back together with kitchen string. Simmer gently in the stock for about 10 min. You don't really want to cook the leeks through, just to give them a little head start. Honestly, I just let it sit in the hot stock (with the stove turned off) about 20 min. while I walked to the store and back
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix the chicken, herbs and salt and pepper. Beat the egg and add to the mix.
Line a terrine pan or loaf pan with the prosciutto slices, then add thin layer of the chicken. Place asparagus stalks in the pan running lengthways, cover with a little more meat, then untie the leeks and place half the quarters in the pan running parallel to the asparagus (I butted them together end to end to make a more or less continuous line of leek along the pan). Top again with more meat, then asparagus and leeks. Finish with another thin layer of chicken and press to compact and even it out. Cover the top with a slice of prosciutto if you have any left.
Cover the terrine with foil, and bake in a water bath for an hour or until the meat registers 155-160 degrees.
Weight the pate
Place another loaf pan or a piece of cardboard cut to size and wrapped in foil on top of the terrine. Put 2 to 3 (1-pound) cans this cover to weight cooked terrine. Chill pate in pan with weights until completely cold, at least 4 hours. Continue to chill, with or without weights, at least 24 hours to allow flavors to develop.
So has Mrs. Monkeyshines learned her lesson about reading recipes first? If experience is our guide, then probably not.
However, through this challenge, we learned not only how to make some excellent pates and terrines, I think we’ve gained an understanding of how to successfully put one together with little more than imagination and a few basic ingredients. It’s extremely unlikely that we’ll ever purchase a pâté again, as making one is so simple and so rewarding.
This was truly an excellent challenge, we want to thank both Valerie and Evelyne for their great idea! Our approx. 2000 fellow Daring Cooks have also created some really wonderful pates – this link leads to a listing of the thousands of other creations we wish we had time to try as well.