Pâté the Perfect Picnic Plate - Article & Recipe

The following article and recipe was written and created by our own Chef Joseph based on a traditional French Pâté.

When it comes to warm weather eating, many of us turn to room temperature dishes, chilled dishes or salads.  In most cultures where warm weather dominates you will find just the opposite in both temperature and spiciness or a combination of both.  Personally I believe the perfect warm weather meal is the latter.  A nice cool starter followed by a something hot and spicy finished with something cool.  Why the spicy or hot?  Easy...it makes you sweat. Sweat cools you off.  It is a no brainer.  Sometimes, though, a lighter meal seems right and a pâté is not only elegant, but perfect to be served by itself or with a salad or simple pickled vegetables, cheese and some fruit.  Wrap it all up in a pastry crust (Pâté en Croûte) and you elevate it to a whole other level.

What is pâté? Many think it is a pureed glob of liver.  Actually it is nothing more than a fancy meatloaf of sorts, usually made of a mixture of ground veal and pork laced with herbs, spices port and cognac with some duck, goose or chicken livers all surrounded by a lovely jelly.  Sometimes it is wrapped in a pastry crust (en croûte).

As usual I’ve lightened it up a bit by using only fowl and poultry.  You can use all chicken if you like.

A round springform pan will make it look like this came from a Parisian charcuterie, but a loaf springform or regular loaf pan will also work as well as make it easier to cut equal slices.

Pâté en Croûte
serves 4-6
Preheat oven to 425F/218C/ Gas 7
1 medium onion minced
1/2 tablespoon/7 g butter
2 1/4 cups/224 g All purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon/7ml salt
4 ounces/113 g butter (one stick) (cold)
4 tablespoon/2 ounces/57 g crisco (cold)
3/4 cup/175ml ice water
3/4 pound/340 g ground turkey
3/4 pound/340 g ground duck or goose
1/4 pound/113 g minced duck or goose fat (about 1 cup)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon/15ml salt
2 cloves garlic minced (or poached and pureed)
3 stems of thyme, leaves only
pinch of ground bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon/2ml ground mace
1/4 teaspoon/1ml allspice
1 teaspoon/5ml fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup/60ml cognac
2 1/2 tablespoons/37ml dry port or sherry
1/2 pound chicken livers (lightly browned in butter)
1/2 pound/225 g turkey bacon
1/4 pound/113 g duck or goose fat (optional)
Jellied Aspic: 4 cups/1 liter hot chicken stock mixed 4 tablespoons/60ml plain gelatin, cooled.

Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Personal Chef Picnic
Place the flour, salt, butter, crisco, salt in a bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingertips, quickly mix everything together until it looks like a coarse corn meal or sand.  Slowly blend in water until the mix comes together. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is a smooth firm ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Saute the onion in butter for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent.  In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, duck, duck fat, salt, thyme, mace, allspice, and pepper, cognac and port.  Add the cooled onion and mix until well combined.  

Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Quickly roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 3/4 inch/2cm thick. Cut the excess leaving about 1 inch/2.5cm larger than your mold.  You should have enough to make a cover and decorate the top. Place the dough into a greased mold lightly pressing it down to fit into the corners.  If using duck fat place 1/4 of it on inside bottom of the dough.  Layer the bacon to form a “net” that the ground meats will sit in with 1/4 of the fats on both sides. Place 1/2 of the ground meats in the mold on top of the bacon and duck fat.  
Place the sauteed livers evenly across the meat.  Place the rest of the ground meat on top of the livers. Form the top of the net with the remaining fat and bacon. Place the top dough over the pate. Paint the edges of the top dough with water.  Fold over the 1 inch/2.5cm overhang, pressing lightly to seal.  With a sharp knife cut 2 holes on either side of the top crust. Make a funnel out of aluminum foil and stick the aluminum funnels into the 2 holes for steam vents.  If you have extra dough you can cut it into shapes and “paste” them on with an egg wash.  If you do not want to decorate, brush the top with an egg beaten with water to make a shiny brown crust.  Place in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350F/180C/Gas 4 and cook for another 30 minutes or  until the internal temperature is 165F/74C.  Remove from oven and let cool for at least 1½ hours.  

Pour in the aspic jelly down the aluminum funnels.  Remove the funnels and refrigerate.  It can hold for up to one week.

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