Ms. Katie White came over with a bottle of wine and a cranberry upside downcake and the two of got started piecing together a recipe.
Using Julia Child's the Art of French Cooking, Rombauer's Joy of Cooking, Dorenenburg and Page's Culinary Artistry, numerous random google searches, and our noses, this is what we came up with. I took Julia's admonition to heart, that you have to be careful with flavoring foods that will ultimately be cold since they won't have the aromatic appeal of hot food - i.e. we heavily seasoned the pâté.
It came out rich, deep, and with a not-too-organ-meaty flavor.
|Topped with cranberry ketchup! D-lish|
|My deer's monster liver on the left, Andrew's button buck's liver on the right.|
I was very curious if there would be a taste difference because basically we were taking the pâté and then putting it through a whole secondary baking and compression step.
Last night we had our favorite advisor and guinea pig over for band practice, Mr. Sergei. He, Andrew, and I tried to put into words what it was that separated the two. I would say, if you don't want to go through the extra time and processing of putting your pâté into a terrine, you'll wind up with a fine and delicious product. But it won't be AS delicious. The terrined pâté was a clear winner for all three of us, with a deeper caramelized flavor, a slightly smoother spread, a slightly less liver-y taste, and a kind of indefinable completeness to it, as if the flavors in the jarred pâté just hadn't quite come together. I'm actually going to scoop out all of the jars today and go ahead and bake them into a terrine just because I can.
As for accompaniments, it was unbelievably good with my cranberry ketchup (we also had some venison backstrap for dinner which was also really delicious with the cranberry ketchup). Not so good with the pickled beach asparagus. I had it in my head that pâté is often served with cornichons, so why not the pickled beach asparagus? Yeah, won't serve it with that again, the flavors seemed to be in a fist-fight in my mouth.
But the venison pâté with a bit of cranberry ketchup and sprig of Italian parsley? 100% winning.
|Terrined pâté on the top and jarred on the bottom with cranberry ketchup and pickled beach asparagus.|
Venison PâtéThis made enough for four half-pint jars and a small terrine.
2.5 lbs wild deer liver
1 small/medium onion
2 large shallots
2 large cloves garlic
4 slices bacon
plenty of butter (clarified or ghee if available)
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup brandy
1 sprig fresh thyme
lots and lots of black pepper (to taste, but you'll use more than you expect to)
salt to taste (again, use plenty)
1 tsp allspice
1/2 cup loosely packed italian parsley
1/2 cup half & half
melted bacon fat to top jars
Remove liver from freezer and thaw in a cold milk bath. After thawed, cut into 1 inch pieces and allow to soak in milk for an additional hour.
Melt butter in pan over medium/low heat, add onion and shallots and caramelize until edges are soft and brown. Add garlic, cook for another 2 minutes. Dice bacon. Move onion/shallots/garlic to outer edges of the pan and fry bacon in the center. Once bacon has begun to cook a bit, mix everthing back together. Cook until bacon fat is clear, but not crispy. Add brandy and sherry and deglaze the bottom of the pan (use the liquid to scrape up all the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan). Once deglazed, pour into bowl and set aside.
Add a bit more butter and then the liver and thyme. Cook until liver is brown on edges, but still pink in the middle. Remove from heat and mix in onion mixture. Pour off any excess liquid and save.
Add liver/onion mixture to food processor with anchovies, pepper, salt, allspice, parsley, and half and half. Blend. Use the liquid you removed from the liver pan to add until pâté is the right consistency. Save the leftover liver juice to add to either future gravy or future stock!
In clean jars pack pâté down. Run a chop stick around the outer edge to get rid of any air bubbles and bang jar on counter to settle pâté into a flat surface. Heat bacon fat until just melted and pour on surface of pâté ensuring that all pâté is below the bacon fat. Cool and then put the lid on and store in the fridge. I think you could also easily use clarified butter in place of the bacon fat.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease terrine or loaf pan (non-metal is preferable). Fill half full with pâté. Tightly cover with foil. Place in water bath with the water halfway up the sides of the pan and place in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Bake for 1 & 1/2 hours or until terrine has pulled away from the sides of the pan and the surrounding fat and juices are clear yellow, with no evidence of red. The pâté will actually rise significantly (which I did not expect). You may need to add additional boiling water to the bath to maintain the level.
|The adorable terrine dish in its water bath.|
While we didn't do it, we also thought that lining the terrine pan with bacon would've been a great choice. Next time!
Preferred Soundtrack: Marvin Gaye
Total Time: 3.5 hours
Active Prep: 1 hour