Friday, April 24, 2015

Pate de Foie: The apotheosis of meat loaf

We discovered Wilson Farms Meats on a country drive many years ago. They are located on Route 28 in Catlett, Virginia. They only take cash, no credit cards or checks. You can call ahead and get them to put your order together (540)788-4615, but we never do that. We just show up and ask Maya what's good. She always answers, "EVERYTHING". And she's right. Everything they have is wonderful. 

It is our source for Amish butter in 2-pound rolls. They have perfect steaks of any cut, fantastic cold cuts and cheeses...favorites are German bologna, blue cheese, smoked swiss cheese and double-smoked ham.Their bulk sausage (5 lb minimum) is versatile and handy to have in the freezer. They have great specialty sausages. I am particular to the spicy Cajun and my husband loves the Hungarian. We discovered Maya's paprika bacon just last fall. I now have a Wilson Farms version of my favorite pate recipe. Some French guy said it was the best pate I had ever made and I've made lots of pate in the last 15 plus years.  

Over the years, I have adapted a recipe from a favorite Time/Life Book from The Good Cook series called Terrines, Pates and Galantines. I love these books as they are thorough in ways you can't begin to imagine. The intriguing Contents page lists entries such as "Two strategies for handling brains" and "A leaf-encased surprise." The original recipe is (quite boringly) called Liver Terrine and appears on page 97. Here is my Wilson Farms version.

Process about one pound of chicken livers and 4 thick slices of Wilson Farms paprika bacon until liquefied.( I have also put the livers and pork through a meat grinder attachment on my KitchenAid mixer, it just depends on how much you want to clean up.)
Mix in bowl with:
one pound of Wilson Farms bulk sausage
1 minced shallot
3 or 4 minced large caper berries
2 teaspoons of ground pepper
2 ¼ teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of quatre epices (you can substitute ¾ t ground ginger and ¼ t cinnamon)
3 Tablespoons of cream sherry or madeira or poison of your choice

Line 2 small terrines with strips of Wilson Farms paprika bacon and fill with pate mixture. If you use a ladle, it makes it less messy. Once filled, you can wrap the bacon up over the liver mixture or trim it and top to fit the terrine.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour and a half. Check at the one hour mark and every 10 minutes thereafter to make sure that they don’t overcook.

Remove terrines from the oven, cover with layer of foil and let cool while compressing the terrines. I use canned goods to weigh things down.

Turn out onto a serving plate (or back into the terrine itself, which is what I do for easy serving). Eat with bread or crackers and pickled cornichons. Little squares of terrine make a decadent topping for deviled eggs, too.

You can make this entire recipe with regular grocery store bacon and sausage and avoid a trip to Wilson Meats, but what fun would that be?

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