All-Turkey Pâté

Turkey liver pâté with cranberry walnut sourdough

No matter the type of liver – pork, veal, chicken, duck – I generally use this recipe, which combines liver with equal parts pork shoulder by weight.

Because I am typically working with the giblets from only one bird, I’ve never had enough turkey liver on hand to do anything more than sauté it with onions and mushrooms and eat it on toast. This past week at work we were running a holiday menu and ended up with the giblets from several birds, so I set aside a pound of turkey livers to make a terrine.

I decided to try an all-turkey pâté (ie. no pork) using the technique discussed in this post. The trick is using poultry skin to bring fat and gelatin to the party, and I’ve found that a ratio of 3:1:1 poultry leg meat to breast meat to skin is a good starting point for sausages and charcuterie.

All-Turkey Pâté


  • 300 g turkey thigh, 1″ cubes
  • 100 g turkey breast, 1″ cubes
  • 100 g turkey skin, 1″ cubes
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 500 g turkey liver
  • 60 g yellow onion or shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried summer savoury
  • 60 mL brandy, Calvados, or hard cider
  • 2 stale buns, cubed
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • ~25 g kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Spread the turkey thigh, breast, and skin out on a sheet tray lined with parchment and thoroughly chill in the freezer.
  2. Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the canola oil.  Sear the turkey livers to develop a deep golden brown, without cooking the interior.  Remove the livers from the pan.  Quickly sauté the onions and dried savoury in the same pan, then deglaze with the brandy.  Combine onion mixture and seared livers, then chill thoroughly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F and put a pot of water on to simmer.
  4. Once the turkey thigh, breast, and skin are at the correct temperature for grinding, grind the skin using a 3/16″ plate. Return the ground skin to the thigh and breast meat, and then grind the entire mixture through the 3/16″ plate.
  5. Form the panada by combining the buns, milk, cream, and eggs.
  6. Combine the chilled liver mix, the ground turkey mix, the panada, salt, and pepper.  Grind using 3/16″ plate.
  7. Transfer entire mixture to bowl of stand mixer and mix with paddle for about 1 minute.
  8. Line the terrine with plastic wrap and pack tightly with farce.  Avoid air pockets.
  9. Put a folded dishtowel in a high-sided roasting pan.  This will keep the terrine from resting on the bottom and help the pâté cook evenly.  Place terrine on the towel and fill the pan with the simmering water so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the terrine.  Bake in oven until centre of pâté is 145°F, about one hour. Ideal internal finishing temperature is 150°F after carry-over.
  10. Remove from oven.  Remove terrine from water bath.  Press with 1 kg weight overnight in fridge.