“What the hell is pâté?”
Pâté is fancy French meatloaf: it’s ground meat, bound with dairy, eggs, and bread. The only difference is that pâté usually contains some liver, and it’s usually eaten cold. If it’s baked in a special ceramic dish, it can be called a terrine.
Within that definition, there is a spectrum of pâtés that runs from rustic to refined. The two qualities that decide a pâté’s place on the spectrum are texture and ingredients. Rustic pâtés are coarser in texture and made with cheaper, heartier ingredients, like liver. They are often described by words like campagne (“country”), grandmère (“grandma”), and maison (“house”). Refined pâtés have a finer, creamier texture and feature meat more prominently than liver. … Continue reading.
For me, the most shocking part of buying a side of beef was how much liver we got.
A lot. I like liver more than most, and I thought it was too much.
If you have to get through a lot of liver, there’s no better way than to just sear it in a pan and tuck in. When the distinct, glandular texture of liver wearies the palate, there are liver dumplings.
This was a staple when I was in Austria. Lunch always consisted of soup, meat, and dessert, and the soup often contained some manner of offal. Most notable were the soft, bready liver dumplings the size of a toddler’s fist, floating in beef broth.
The biggest problem with … Continue reading.
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
–Address to a Haggis, Robert Burns
Haggis: unquestionably the king of the Scots kitchen. Rarely eaten, much maligned, completely misunderstood.
Haggis is made of a sheep’s pluck, which is a tidy term for the lungs, heart, and liver. Traditionally these parts would be boiled, ground, mixed with oats and onions, then stuffed into a cleansed sheep’s stomach, making what is essentially a large, round sausage.
Sheep are rarely brought to maturity in North America, so all the offal I used was from a lamb. Lamb bits are smaller and milder in flavour than sheep bits.
Most of the ingredients are easier to obtain than you might … Continue reading.
Liver’s robust flavour is perfect in dumplings, that humble but satisfying dish that was once made with left-over bread, milk, and eggs. I was able to pick up some buffalo liver from First Nature Farms last week.
First I cut the liver into pieces and seared them on high heat. I set the liver aside, sweated onions in the same pan, then deglazed with vinegar and water.
For moisture and body, I added leftover bread heels soaked in milk. I used eggs to bind the mixture, dried bread to tune the consistency, and finsihed with salt, pepper, and thyme.
The ingredients were then forced through the hand-cranked meat grinder above, at left, which used to belong to my grandmother. This … Continue reading.
This week I made a duck liver pâté and served it with sour cherries. Both the livers and the cherries came from Greens, Eggs, and Ham.
The recipe was adapted from that for pâté grand mère in Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie. Duck livers can generally stand in for chicken livers.
1: Season the pork and liver (separately), with salt, pepper, bay, and thyme. Leave the mixtures overnight in the fridge.
2: The next day, chill the meat grinder and mixer parts. Ice water is particularly effective. You can also preheat your oven to 300°F.
3: After removing the bay leaf and thyme, sear the livers quickly over high heat. This is done strictly to enhance flavour and colour. Remove the … Continue reading.