Like any normal girl, when I arrived at my parent’s house for the holidays, I wanted to process meat. I told my dad I wanted to accomplish 3 things: make pate, make some kind of fresh, stuffed pasta (I had been thinking a sort of goat cheese/pork/rabbit creation), and make sausage. Some people make gingerbread cookies to celebrate the holidays. I wanted chorizo.
Luckily for me, I have a (former) chef as a father, and he didn’t just support my desire to make meaty magic, he had the recipes ready. First up, Pate de Campagne.
We started by boning a pork shoulder. The recipe calls for 2 lbs of pork, and we were just barely going to make it with the 17 lbs we had laid out in front of us. We cut it into manageable strips, making sure we got enough fat, and then it was time to grind.
This was my first voyage into the wonderful world of grinding meat, and it’s hard for me to find the words to describe my unmitigated joy at the sound/sight of the meat squishing through that grinder. I was literally oooing and ahhing with every chunk I stuffed in. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I got to mix the meat up with my bare hands (to ensure the fat got evenly dispersed throughout the mixture). So cold. So squishy. So amazing.
We then took 1/3 of that mixture, combined it with 1/4 lb. of chicken liver, 1/4 c. of chopped yellow onion, 1 1/2 tbsp of minced garlic, 1/2 c. of chopped italian parsley, 1/2 tspn. of all-spice (mixture of ground coriander, ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon), salt and pepper. I was licking my fingers, and my dad literally had to tell me to stop eating raw pork. Salmonella be damned, it tasted delicious!
After putting that mixture through the grinder again (on the smaller setting), we mixed it in with the rest of the meat. Next came the “glue” – 2 tbsp of flour, 2 eggs, 1 c. cream, 2 tbsp brandy. More squishing commenced.
We poured 1/2 of our mixture into a 1 1/2 qt loaf pan, and to give our pate a little something special, we added pistachios and sauteed crimini mushrooms to the middle of the mold. We finished by pouring the rest of our, what can only be described as meat pudding, into the mold, and after I was done putting my nose in it to take in how amazing the smell was, we covered it with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge (with a 5 lb weight on top to condense it) for 24 hrs.
The result? A giant, dense, beautiful brick of pate. I served this with cornichons and an onion confit I made from scratch – a mix of yellow onion and shallot, combined with salt, pepper, sugar, a bit of chicken stock, and a bit of white and balsamic vinegar boiled down until it’s soft and syrupy.
It. was. so. good. I started screaming after my first bite, and couldn’t put it down even when it felt like I was 4 months pregnant with a food baby. Not only is this going in my repertoire, I’m bringing it to my friend’s New Years Eve party.
How to gain a pound on Christmas? Eat 1/3 of a loaf of pate.