Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Discussion of Favorites

In general, I am not partial to discussions of favorites—I have enough room in my heart for many good things to be at the top of the list. But if pressed, I would have to say that my favorite food group is charcuterie.

Salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, bacon, sausage, terrine—yes please!
But for being such an avid patron of charcuterie, I have made very little of it myself. The one exception is pate. I make it every December. And usually a few times in between.

For me, pate is a special treat. Like savory frosting—totally over the top, and totally worth it. I like to make it for special occasions. And eat the leftovers for breakfast with toasted baguette and apples.

Warning pate makers: there are quite a few people out there who just do not like pate. So in order to avoid awkward situations and potentially hurt feelings, be careful who you serve it to. Once I brought a plate of homemade pate and cranberry relish to a dinner party, and except for the gluttonous three servings that I had myself, I took it all home with me. On another occasion, a friend gagged after he took a heaping bite full, claiming he thought it was hummus. Pate is not hummus.

But in the right crowd, pate can be the perfect beginning to a celebratory meal.

This is a great country pate recipe that I got from Martha Stewart Living, many years ago. The original recipe calls to serve it with baguette and maple syrup apples. Very good, but I prefer it with something a little tarter, like preserved cherries, or rhubarb compote.

Chicken Liver Pate
2 sticks unsalted butter
¾ # white mushrooms, sliced
½ # chicken livers
1 t paprika
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sliced scallions
1/3 cup white wine
Coarse salt 
  1. Melt 3 T butter in a large sauté pan.
  2. Sauté mushrooms, liver, garlic and scallions until the livers are cooked through. About 5 minutes.
  3. Add wine, garlic, paprika and 1 t salt. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the mushrooms are really soft.  
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  5. Process in a food processor or blender with the remaining butter and 1 ½ t salt.
  6. Transfer it to a serving dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the top of the pate.
  7. Keeps for about a week in the fridge.


Kathryn said...

Two thoughts come to mind. First, I had not considered charcuterie an independent food group before now. Made me smile. Second, I wish you were doing appetizers for our holiday meal.

pleasantcompany said...

Thanks Kathryn! I am hoping that charcuterie-all-the-time will be the next fad diet. Then it could be more than an appetizer.

Jon Hewus said...

Your pate was truly delicious! I i couldn't get enough of it at dinner. In fact after dinner I snuck into the kitchen and found the leftover heel of baguette and rummaged through the fridge until I found the bowl.
Umm umm good....