Coarse Country Pâté

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 Coarse country pate is one of my favourite taste memories of  France. This is my version of an old Delia Smith recipe. I've made it many times, and every time I eat it, I close my eyes, and I'm back in France again! Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 900g pork shoulder
  • 200g  dry cure smoked bacon streaky rashers, with as much fat as possible - to go in the pate
  • 200g dry curesmoked bacon streaky rashers - to line the cooking dish
  • 300g pig's liver
  • 20 juniper berries
  • 20 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 heaped teaspoon salt
  • ¼ rounded teaspoon ground mace
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 120 ml dry white vermouth
  • 30ml brandy
To garnish:
  • fresh bay leaves
  • a few extra juniper berries
Method
  1. Begin by cutting the pork shoulder into rough pieces, leave on the fat, but remove any tough sinews. Chop up the bacon into 1cm chunks, and finally chop up the liver removing any veins and sinew.
  2. Use a food process to finely chop the meats one at a time - leave the liver to last as this is the messiest.
  3. Next, put each meat in turn into a large mixing bowl and mix them together very thoroughly.
  4. Now coarsely crush first the juniper berries and then the black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder, and add these to the meat, along with 1 heaped teaspoon of salt, the mace, garlic and thyme.
  5. You will now need to mix again even more thoroughly to distribute all the flavours evenly.
  6. Finally, add the vermouth and brandy and give it a final mix, then cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it in a cool place for at least a couple of hours to allow the flavours to be absorbed.  I like to leave it overnight to really get the flavours going.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F  150°C.
  8. Next using the flat of a large knife and a chopping board, lay each lining back rasher on the board  and stretch and flatten each rasher - they should about double in lengtPreparation Stages - smallh.
  9. Lay the bay leaves and juniper berries in the base of the loaf tin or terrine dish, and drape the stretched bacon rashers across and into the tin, leaving an overhang  on each side. You will have to  cut some rashers in half to finish off the ends.
  10. Then pack the mixture into the terrine or loaf tin.
  11. Fold over the overhanging bacon ends to cover the filling. If you have a gap in the middle cover with another stretched rasher.
  12. Now take a sheet of foil, put a folded pleat across the middle, and cover the cooking dish. The pleat will allow for any expansion during cooking.
  13. Place the terrine or tin in a roasting tin half-filled with hot water on the centre shelf of the oven and leave it there for about 1¾ hours.
  14. By the time it has cooked, the pâté will have shrunk quite a bit. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool without draining off any of the surrounding juices; once the pâté has cooled, the surrounding fat and jelly will keep it nicely moist.
  15. When the pâté is cold, place a double strip of foil across the top and put a few weights (tins of food, scale weights) on to press it down for at least a few hours – this pressing isn't essential but it helps to make the pâté less crumbly if you want to serve it in slices. If you don't weight it you can serve it in chunks rather than slices. Then, place the pâté, weights and all, into the fridge overnight.
  16. To serve the pâté you need to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes ahead, to return it to room temperature, then turn it out of the terrine or loaf tin and remove the surrounding jelly and any fat. Make sure the side with the bay leaves and juniper berries is on the top.
  17. Slice and serve with cornichons, onion relish, olives, and hot toasted bread, or some very crusty, fresh bread.

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