Barbara Kafka

Spiffy French Country Pâté

(as featured on 20/20 segment) 

This is a quick and fairly easy pâté that needs to be made ahead but then keeps in the refrigerator—well wrapped—for almost a week. It actually improves in flavor with time. It is a godsend for dinner parties and cocktail parties as it can be made ahead and served with mustard and cornichons (tiny pickles) and either crackers and bread or on salad leaves—watercress and/or spinach do particularly well. This is one of the first recipes I have tested in a 1,200-watt oven. (See Blog.)

¾ pound chicken livers

¼ pound onion, peeled and cut in chunks

3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled and trimmed at root end

1/8 pound unsalted fat back cut into ¼” cubes (1/3 cup)

¼ pound cooked, smoked ham (bought in ¼’-thick slice) trimmed and cut in ¼” cubes

1½ pounds coarsely ground pork shoulder, ground, preferably by the butcher or in a food processor

1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons quatre épices, store-bought or made from equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger powder
ground in a coffee mill or mortar

2 tablespoons brandy—Cognac

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Ample fresh ground black pepper

Canola oil for pan


First comes the only time consuming step. The livers must be cleaned. Put them one by one on a cutting surface and run a sharp knife along the central veins and membrane toward the lobe—repeat on each side—to remove the tough stuff.

Put livers in a food processor along with the onions and garlic. Process until chopped but not a total purée. Put in a largish bowl with remaining ingredients except for canola oil. Stir well.

Moisten paper towel with oil and thoroughly smear the inside of a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan. Put meat mixture into loaf pan pressing down well into a compact, flat mass. Cover loosely with several layers of uncolored paper towels. The paper towels will keep the top from drying out and will absorb any leaking fat.

Place in 1,200 watt microwave oven. Cook for 18 minutes. Remove from oven. Careful, the pan isn’t hot but the fat may be. Cover loosely with kitchen towels and allow to cool. While pâté is cooling, cover a brick or other heavy object that will lay flat inside the pan with aluminum foil. I used a knife-sharpening stone.

Place foil covered object on top of pâté. Refrigerate overnight.

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