Adventures in Game Pâté (repost)
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For Christmas my extended family gathers and we enjoy almost non-stop feasting (seriously neither side of the family understand 'light' meals, it should go some way to explaining my portion size ideas). This works because we all pitch in. This year I have been perfecting my Sticky Toffee Pudding (which my brother has conveniently written up) and so had orders to bring some with me.
I wanted to bring something else though but was warned off more puddings/desserts. I also wanted to experiment with pâté again, in particular game pâté this time. So I went hunting for a recipe to, as it turns out, almost completely ignore. The one I selected was this one.
There are two methods of cooking: following a recipe to the letter and...err...not. Unless I'm baking, I'm very much in the 'not' camp. What follows then is notes of what I did and is all higgledy piggledy - not a traditional style recipe. It's also why I'm not giving it straight to my brother to write up as a straight forward recipe - it's not what cooking is about. People should feel free to substitute and play around with things.
So I made some notes and went to the market. First stop, the fishmongers who also happen to be the game merchants who I was sure had some mixed game. The recipe calls for 175grams each of pheasant and guineafowl and, while I can get pheasant breast, I can only get whole guineafowl. However, very helpfully the woman on the store remembers the mixed game they have downstairs (which I was glad I hadn't imagined). I get about 400grams rather than the 350... Oh well...
Next up, the bacon and pork. Bacon I get about spot on (240grams) but get about 740grams of pork shoulder cubed. I also pick up "a handful" of chicken liver I spot at another stall.
After that I also grab some fresh rosemary and thyme, some apple and pear juice (from concentrate) some juniper berries and a couple of onions.
I blend together the meat (saving a couple of rashers of bacon), soften the onions and mix the onions and herbs with the blended meat. I then take some juniper berries and try and work out what to do with them. I start trying to crush them and give up and resort to chopping them up and throwing them in. I pour on some of the apple and pear juice and leave to marinade a bit. Oh, and salt and pepper.
Eventually I throw it all into a loaf tin (only just fits), throw the reserved bacon on top, cover with foil and pop in the water bath in the oven at 150.
Two hours later I check... It's shrunk and swimming in the juice in the loaf tin... Hmmm... I give it another half hour and then remove it completely and press it.
It's huge (even with the shrinking). I somehow avoid tucking in and take it down to Nottingham as a surprise. To my surprise, it goes down well, we get through just over half in one sitting alongside the shop and cheese and pickles and other stuff on offer. And then we came back to it the next day. And I've been told to repeat the trick next year. Yeah I'm bragging, but this is why I'm writing the post, to remember what I did 8-)
So, what will I do differently next time? Probably marinade and drain before I blend the meat. Possibly with a better fruit juice. Oh, and probably use the main part of the blender rather than the blitzter part - much easier to clean and does a better job.
So, go out and make pâté.