Coarse country pâté is one of those things which works its magic in the kitchen. It is so perfect for filling in gaps when a full meal is not required; the food needs to be somewhere other than the dining room table (perhaps a lunch box or picnic basket) or when the "what can I make as a starter" question haunts you.
This simple yet delicious traditional French pâté is one such beast, and yet it is so easy to make; every time you take it from the fridge, you will be so glad you made it. All it needs alongside it is some crusty bread and maybe a few pickled onions or a little piccalilli.
This recipe comes from Chef Lionel Strub, the Chef Patron of The Clarendon at Hebden in the Yorkshire Dales. Though Lionel hails originally from Alsace in France, he has lived in Yorkshire for over 25 years. Lionel is also Chef Tutor at Cooks the Carlton School of Food.
- 7 tbsp./100 g. butter (unsalted)
- 1 cup/100 g. onion (minced)
- 2.2 lbs./1 kg. ground pork
- 8 to 10 slices streaky bacon (finely chopped), plus 14 slices (for lining pan)
- 3 garlic cloves (pressed)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 3 tbsp. cognac
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 gammon steak (a type of ham steak)
- Dash of coarse sea salt
- Garnish: dijon mustard
Melt the butter in a heavy medium pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent but not brown, about 8 minutes, watch carefully to make sure this does not burn.
Combine ground pork and chopped bacon in large bowl. Using fork or fingertips, mix until well blended.
Add sautéed onion, garlic, salt, thyme, allspice, cognac, and pepper to bowl with pork mixture and stir until incorporated. Add eggs. Stir until well blended.
Line a 9 x 5 x 3-inch metal loaf pan with bacon slices, arranging eight slices across the width of the pan and three slices on each short side of the pan and overlapping pan on all the sides. Using hands, lightly and evenly press half of the meat mixture (about 3 1/4 cups) onto the bottom of pan atop bacon slices. Arrange gammon ham strips over in single layer. Top with remaining meat mixture.
Fold bacon slices over, covering pâté. Cover pan tightly with foil. Place the loaf pan into a baking pan. Pour boiling water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of the loaf pan. Bake pâté until a thermometer inserted through foil into the center registers 155 F, about 2 hours 15 minutes.
Remove loaf pan from baking pan and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Place heavy skillet or 2 to 3 heavy cans atop pâté to weigh down. Chill overnight. It can be made four days ahead.