Living in the Country I had to make Country Pâté

Beautiful Texture

There was a time that I was elbow deep in pork fat. I was the charcuterie chef at a trendy restaurant in SoHo. Made scallop mousse, shrimp mousse and salmon mousse. Boudin blancs and andouille sausages and I made the pâté. Now I just lost some people, it’s a reflex, because they believe all pâté contains liver and they are not fans of liver. Sure many terrines are made from a variety of livers but not ALL pâtés have liver in them.

So for the squeamish, a pâté recipe with NO liver what-so-ever. Coarsely ground or chopped pork, veal, ham and bacon along with the usual spices and of course cognac. Although time consuming, making pâté is simple.

1 cup Cognac
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup onion diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground pork
1 pound Veal (I used lean veal for stew)
you can also use ground veal but  make sure it’s lean
8 ounces Black Forest ham or high quality Virginia ham sliced thick and cubed him
4 ounces Black Forest ham cut lengthwise into ¼ inch strips
8 ounces high quality thick sliced bacon cubed
8 ounces bacon to be ground with the veal
Additional bacon to line the terrain.
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons allspice
2 juniper berries (optional)
1teaspoon ground white pepper
1 3/4 – 2  ounces  green peppercorns, reserving 1 tablespoon of the liquid.
NOTE:  This is optional but I love the way they taste and look in the pâté. These are not “dry” peppercorns. They’ll be in a jar or can in brine.
1/3 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
8-cup terrain or heavy loaf pan.
Dijon mustard

Country Pâté -- Pâté de Campagne

Pour 3 inches of water into a roasting pan, place on the lower rack of the oven and preheat to 300°.  Boil the cognac until it reduces to about 2/3 cup.  Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent but not brown, about 8 to 10 min.

Dice the black forest ham and 8 ounces of the thick sliced bacon. Grind the veal with a course blade along with another 8 ounces of bacon. If you don’t have a food grinder asked the person where you buy your meat to grind it for you. Or you can always chop it up fine. A course texture for Country Pâté is expected.

Combine all the meats in a large bowl mix together until well blended. Add the spices, reduced Cognac, sautéed onions and garlic, eggs and cream. Mix everything together.

Make a small patty of the pâté mixture and cook in a small frying pan. Let the mini burger cool and then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remember the pâté will be served at a cooler temperature in the mixture will taste different when it is hot.

Line the loaf pan with bacon allowing slices to hang over the sides. Fill the pan halfway and press firmly to spread it evenly and to eliminate any air pockets. Take the ham strips lay them across the top of the pâté mixture. Add more the pâté mixture filling the loaf pan about quarter-inch above the rim. Fold the bacon slices over the top of the pâté. Cover the pan tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil. Place the pâté in the roasting pan/water bath and add enough water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the pâté pan.

Bae for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature is between 150° and 160°. When the pâté is done, remove it from hot bath. This is where it gets tricky. The loaf must be weighted for approximately 4 hours in order to press out the excess fat and decompress the pâté so it will slice evenly. I place a board over the pâté, and wait with the brick wrapped in foil, for appearance sake, and top with a couple of cans of kidney beans. A heavy skillet will work as well as large canned goods. Let the pâté cool, remove the weights and refrigerate.

The flavor the pâté gets better over time. It’s best to make the pâté 2 to 3 days before you plan to use it. To unmold the pâté, place it in some warm water for several minutes to soften the fat that surrounds it. Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pâté pressing against the side of the pâté pan as not to cut into the pâté. Then turn the pâté onto a cutting board. Clean away any excess fat. Slice the pâté about a quarter inch thick. Cut each slice into 4 smaller pieces so that they will fit on a cracker. Remember this is not a pâté you can spread. The cracker you use should be as bland as possible; water cracker, with a grilled French bread toasts or toasted French bread. In the South the tendency is to put everything on a Ritz Cracker. Don’t use flavored or wheat crackers. Put a slice of pâté on the cracker with a dollop of Dijon mustard and a small slice cornichon.

A well wrapped pâté will last a week in the refrigerator tasting better with age. The portions above in this recipe yield more than enough for the one loaf pan. I usually make a second smaller loaf and freeze to use it on later date. Make sure that you wrapped pâté well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

Posted by funny motivational speaker Vinny Verelli


Curried Tuna Salad

What could be easier than making tuna salad?  Okay, peanut butter and jelly, but that’s because you don’t have to open a can. Believe me, there were days in my youth when I would open a can of generic tuna and mix a couple of packets of mayonnaise that I lifted from Burger King. That was lunch… or dinner depending on what time it was. Didn’t always know where my next meal was coming from.

Things changed when I started working at restaurants.  My first restaurant job was in 1970 at the Top of the Hub in Boston. Working nights however was cutting into my party time and I was missing out on some major fun.  I quit and got a day job working at the B&R Deli, in Roxbury in time to see Janis Joplin at Harvard Stadium for two bucks.  It was a simpler time.

funny Keynote Speaker curried tuna

My good friend Ron Morecraft did the photos for the cookbook.

From 1976 until 1985 I worked at the Soho Charcuterie in New York City and was a model employee. Good and fast at what I did plus I showed up on time.  And in turn the owners gave me great freedom and responsibility.

I could leave  (with notice) for months at a time and when I got back, I’d have a job cooking brunch the very next Sunday. By the middle of the following week, I’d picked up a couple of shifts and after two weeks I was working as many hours as I wanted.

The turnover in the restaurant business is seriously high. People get burned out, wacked out and spaced out. Some people just suck. Others find a better if not different restaurant to go to and some, get cast in a show.

One of the positions I held was doing prep for the Salad Chef. The Charcuterie had a large deli case full of salads, pates and deserts.  I would bake then skin the chicken breasts, chop the shallots and make the tarragon mayo that was mixed with the chicken.  The curried tuna salad recipe below is inspired by the one we made at the Charcuterie. I didn’t do the math, but as far as I can tell it’s gluten free.

Recipe written below the video:

Curried Tuna Salad
3 cans tuna, solid white, packed in water
4 stalks celery chopped fine
4 scallions chopped fine with the greens
1 cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
4 – 6 oz Major Grey chutney depending on how sweet you like the salad.
    The better the chutney the better the final product
1/2 cup raisins
1 apple chopped fine (optional)

1/2 cup (cause I like them) toasted pine nuts for garnish
1 additional chopped scallion for garnish

Mix the chopped scallion and celery into the mayo. Add the curry powder, cumin, salt and chutney and stir.  Add the curry mayonnaise to the drained canned tuna and fold in the raisins. Spoon the salad onto lettuce leaves and garnish with additional chopped scallions and toasted pine nuts. Add some sliced tomatoes and serve it up. Also makes a great sandwich.