Tag Archives: pate

Smoked Trout Pate

smoked trout plate tastefood

Smoked Trout Pâté is the ideal recipe to have on hand for the holidays. Not only is it a snap to prepare, it’s versatile; elegant enough for a fancy party and simple enough for a fireside dinner. The ingredients are minimal and may be purchased in advance and stored in the refrigerator, ready to be blitzed at a moment’s notice or a surprise guest’s arrival. The smoky trout is fluffed and lightened with lemon and cream cheese, then crowned with crunchy toasted almonds and fresh chives. The flavor is so addictively good you might want to double up on the quantities, so you can make a separate stash for yourself.

smoked trout

Smoked Trout Pâté

Serve the pâté on baguette slices, pumpernickel rounds, or cubed pumpernickel bread. Don’t hold back on the almonds. Their nutty flavor and crunchy texture are what set these canapes apart. Smoked mackerel may be substituted for the trout. Makes about 2 cups.

Pâté:
8 ounces smoked trout (or mackerel), skin and any bones removed
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup grated onion with juices
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

Thinly sliced European-style pumpernickel squares, rounds or baguette slices
1/3 cup almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
Chopped chives

Process all of the pâté ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until light and smooth. If too thick, add a little more lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl. To serve, smear on pumpernickel bread or baguette slices. Sprinkle with almonds and chives.

Home-cured Bacon and a review of Alexian Pate

~ Brined Pork Belly ~

It’s been over a year since I started to post homemade charcuterie on TasteFood. One of my favorite recipes – and easiest – is the home-cured pork belly, aka bacon, which I continue to do on a regular basis. I am here to say, that you – any of you – can do this too, and that once you try it, there will be no going back. Not only are the results positively swoon-worthy, the process is ridiculously simple. You only need to plan ahead.

Home-Cured Pork Belly

Five pounds sounds like a lot of meat, but the bacon is easy to freeze and a welcome gift for your bacon-loving friends. Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine.

5 pounds pork belly with skin
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Rinse the pork and dry. Lay on a large sheet of parchment paper. Combine salt, sugar, peppercorns and bay leaves in a mortar or spice grinder. Coarsely pound or grind. Mix in the garlic. Smear the spices all over the pork. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag, turning to distribute the spices. Place on a rimmed baking tray and refrigerate for 7 days, flipping the bag every second day.
After 7 days the pork should feel firm to the touch. (If not, refrigerate an additional day and check again). Remove the bacon from the bag and thoroughly rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
Heat oven to 200 F. Place bacon in a rectangular baking pan and roast until the meat is brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 150 F., about 3 hours.
Transfer the bacon to a cutting board. Slice off the skin with a long, thin knife. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator. Cut in portions and wrap in plastic. Bacon will keep in refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

See? Easy to make. All that you need is time to plan ahead for a week of letting the meat brine in the refrigerator. Admittedly, we don’t always have time for such a project, and when a go-to specialty product comes across my radar for easy use, I am interested. So it felt a bit like Christmas when I recently received a box from Alexian Pate and Specialty Meats filled with an assortment of pates, rillette and terrines.  On the heels of a year of Charcutepalooza posts on TasteFood, it must have been evident that I love charcuterie. When Alexian reached out to me and asked if I would like to try a sample selection of their all-natural delicacies, it was hard for me to resist.

As most of you know, I rarely do product reviews. It’s not so much out of principle, but more that I rarely come across products which genuinely excite me. Call me picky, I prefer my products authentic and my ingredients to be fresh and natural – especially when it comes to meat. So, Alexian caught my attention. Their charcuterie are all-natural, with no chemical preservatives, fillers, additives and colors, and their meats are free of antibiotics and growth stimulants. They are a family run business, and “A Certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise” to boot, with their traditions dating back to Germany’s 17th century. With that resume, I was quite impressed and eager to taste a sampling of their specialties.

When the box arrived, it indeed felt like Christmas.  We have happily indulged in Duck Liver Mousse with Cognac, a rustic and hearty Pheasant Rosemary Pate, unctuous award winning Duck Rillettes, and a silky Truffled Mousse flecked with mushrooms and laced with sherry.

The flavors of the products reflected the company philosophy. They were fresh with a clean taste of meat and no lingering gaminess. The Truffled Mousse was the family favorite, smooth, creamy and delicately perfumed with truffle. Each package came with a shelf life of at least 56 days, enabling us to savor and enjoy each item over several weeks, pulling them out for an easy rustic dinner of cheese and pate or as an appetizer while entertaining. I will continue to make my own charcuterie when I want a project. When I want a go-to specialty meat product I won’t hesitate to buy Alexian.

If you are looking for other charcuterie projects, you might enjoy these recicpes from TasteFood:
Pork Rillettes with Calvados and a Recipe for Apple Prune Chutney
Homemade Bratwurst and a Recipe for Beer Mustard
Homemade Italian Sausage and Broccolini Pasta
Homemade Merguez

Full disclosure: I received the Alexian products free of charge. The opinions I have written are entirely my own.

The Boar and the Pig: Pâté de Campagne

~ Boar Pâté with Cranberries and Pistachios ~

Any excuse I have to make pâté is a gift, so this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge (packing) was a bit like an early Christmas. In charcuterie terms, packing involves jamming a terrine with ground spiced meat, spirits, eggs and cream and baking it in a water bath.  The resulting baked brick of spiced and fortified meat is weighted down and banished to the refrigerator to sit for a day or two to become comfortable with it’s brash flavorings while anticipation builds –  just as it would the day before Christmas as you eye unopened presents placed beneath the tree. When the time is right (2 days at least) the terrine is retrieved from the refrigerator and its wrapping discarded, uncovering a rich, meaty country pâté, chunky with nuts and fruit.

I have fiddled with this recipe over the years, and lately become enamored of wild boar. Boar reminds me of Europe, where it is a frequent ingredient in charcuterie. It may be purchased in specialty stores, through a butcher or mail order. Boar is a flavorful meat, kind of a cross between pork and lamb, that lends depth to the pâté. Since it’s so lean, it’s important to combine it with a fattier cut of meat such as pork shoulder.

Country Pâté with Boar, Cranberries and Pistachios

This pâté is a perfect appetizer or easy dinner with cheese and salad. Begin at least two days before serving to allow the flavors to develop. (Veal may be substituted for the boar.)

Serves 20

1 pound ground boar shoulder (or veal)
1 pound ground pork shoulder
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 pound bacon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus extra for greasing terrine
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Calvados
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Coarsely ground peppercorns for garnish

If you are grinding your own meat, then cut the boar and pork in 3/4 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl. Add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, allspice, coriander and cloves. Mix to thoroughly coat the meat. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Grind with a meat grinder before proceeding.

If you are using ground meat, combine boar and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, allspice, coriander and cloves. Mix thoroughly; refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Remove meat from refrigerator. Add bacon and return to refrigerator while you prepare the onions. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent but not brown, 6 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir into the meat.
Combine eggs, cream and calvados in a small bowl. Add to meat and mix well.
Butter a loaf pan or terrine. Press one third of the meat into the terrine. Sprinkle evenly with half of the pistachios and cranberries. Press another third of the meat into the terrine. Top with remaining pistachios and cranberries. Cover with remaining meat. Cover terrine tightly with foil. Prick 2-3 holes in the foil. Place terrine in a baking pan. Pour boiling water into the baking pan until halfway up the sides of the terrine. Bake in oven until meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 155 F. about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and remove terrine from the water bath. Place a terrine press over the pate (or a cutting board with cans on top) and cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator and let sit 1-2 days before serving. To serve, un-mold pate. Scrape off any congealed fat. Cut in slices, ½ inch thick. Sprinkle with additional peppercorns if desired. Serve with cornichons, Dijon-style mustard and fresh French baguette or peasant bread.

What is Charcutepalooza?
An inspirational idea hatched by Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster and partnering with Food52 and Punk Domestics. It celebrates a Year in Meat, where participating foodies and bloggers will cure, smoke and salt their way through Michael Ruhlman’s bestselling cookbook Charcuterie.

Smoked Mackerel Paté with Horseradish and Dill

Smoked Mackerel Paté with Horseradish and Dill

In the world of blogging I have discovered that there are certain recipes that are sure-fire winners in terms of traffic. Usually these recipes are familiar crowd pleasers, such as comfort food favorites and baked treats we remember from our childhood. Then there are other recipes which generate less traffic. These are recipes we eat in our home that are inspired by the countries in which we’ve lived and traveled. They are part of my family story and they represent this blog’s voice. Most importantly, while they may be exotic or obscure to some, they are equally delicious.

Smoked Mackerel Paté with Horseradish and Dill is a family favorite with a Scandinavian slant which will fall in the second category for some. It reminds me of the Nordic culture, which I think of as frugal, minimal and tasteful. This recipe is easy and economical to prepare, requiring a short list of readily available ingredients. It’s rich in smoky, salty flavor, smoothed with cream and brightened with lemon and dill. And it’s packed with nutrients – mackerel is an excellent source of Vitamin D, magnesium, selenium and heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. That’s a lot to say about a simple pot of smoked fish mousse. Oh, and I should mention that it’s addictively good. So, go ahead – try it, and let me know what you think.



Smoked Mackerel Paté with Horseradish and Dill

This pate tastes best smeared on country style bread or baguette. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

8 ounces smoked mackerel or trout, skin and any pin bones removed
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish

Baguette slices
Dill sprigs

Combine the mackerel, cream cheese, horseradish, lemon juice and black pepper in bowl of food processor.  Process until the consistency is light and smooth. If too thick, add additional lemon juice. (The pate may be prepared up to 6 hours in advance at this point. Cover and refrigerate.) Before serving, stir in chopped dill. Serve smeared on baguette slices. Sprinkle with fresh horseradish and garnish with extra dill.