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.
That’s right, pate. And now we’re all thinking, who the heck makes their own pate?! Apparently I do! Oh, also the hundreds or thousands or however many other people there are participating in the Daring Cooks challenges. Maybe not quite so crazy and intrepid after all. Something that is at least a little, tiny bit crazy, though, is that I just had all of the ingredients to make a pork liver pate already there, in my freezer and pantry. Ground pork? Check. Bacon? Check. Pork liver? Check. Pork fat? Check? What the heck is this? A butcher shop?!!…It’s just that sometimes Kim, the completely awesome local farmer from whom I get all my meat products sometimes throws some extra odds and ends into my meat share because I once told her that I was adventurous (and liver is really quite good for you – it’s a good source of many many vitamins, including the increasingly popular vitamin D, which is hard to find in food sources – you get most from the sun). So there you have it. Friends were coming for dinner and I was going to make pork liver pate and bread as an appetizer.
The minor hitch, it turned out, was the lack of a food processor (or sausage maker, sadly – I do long for a sausage maker) in my kitchen. What I have, and it usually works well, is either one me chopping things finely or one of those handheld stick chopper doodads. I opted to use the latter for processing together all the pig products. Now, I’m not that squeamish, but a word of caution to all of you: a handheld blender stick is not the best implement for making a liver pate. I tried to be a vegetarian in college for a while (ecological reasons), until I discovered that beans and whole grains make me sick (literally!). So, I took some time, did a lot of reading, research, meeting my meat, and such to figure out how I could feel good about my meat consumption. Trying to blend pork liver, ground pork, and pork fat together in a big bowl with a whirring stick that splattered things all over my hair and face (I won’t go into more detail) brought me as close as I ever have been to wanting to be a vegetarian again. BUT then I wrapped the stuff in bacon and stuck it in the oven, and whoa! all hesitation about it vanished with one deep inhalation of the amazing, crackling, bacony smells that began to emanate from the kitchen. It smelled like Christmas on steroids.
So, by the time the pate was baked and chilled, the bread baked and ready to go, and the guests arriving, I was happy as a clam to relive (instead of repress) fond memories of eating leverpostej on thin slices of bread sitting in a square in Copenhagen by digging right in to my own version thereof. And here, for those of you are now just aching to make your own pate and make your kitchen smell like a bacon palace (in a good way), are the recipes. The pate recipe is adapted from Ravenous Couple, which was inspired by White on Rice Couple. The baguette recipe is from the King Arthur flour website.
Three Spice Liver Pâté
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan
- 1 lb / 454 grams pork liver (or beef or combination)
- 1/2 lb / 227 grams ground pork
- 1/2 lb / 227 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 shallots
- 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp / 2 ml cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp / 2 ml coriander (ground or crushed)
- 1/2 tsp / 2 ml cumin
- 3/4 tsp / 3 ml salt
- 1 tbps / 15 ml coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
- 2 tbps / 30 ml cognac
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 package of bacon
- Preheat oven to to 350ºF (180ºC)
- Cut liver and pork fat into small pieces and add to food processor. Add ground pork, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grind until smooth.
- In mixing bowl, incorporate the meat and liver mixture with the cognac and eggs.
- Line bottom of baking or ceramic pan with overlapping pieces of bacon. Place a bay leaf on the bottom and then fill with meat/liver mixture. Cover top with another bay leaf and then overlapping pieces of bacon.
- Place in oven in the larger baking pan and add enough water to cover 2/3rds of the pan containing the meat/liver mixture. Bake for about 1-1.5 hrs.
- The pâté will contract and the juices will be on the bottom. Allow to cool and soak up the juices. Remove any excess bacon and discard the bay leaves
yield: Three 16″ baguettes
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
- 1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup / 240 ml flour
- 1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
- 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
- all of the starter
- 3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
- 1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt
*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.
- Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.
- Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15″ log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.
- Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they’ve become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).
- Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8″ vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.
- Bake the baguettes until they’re a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2″, and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.