Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pâté de Faux Gras

Photos to follow.

2T unsalted butter,
4T duck or goose fat, cut into bits and chilled. Butter, if you can't be bothered (but it won't taste like foie gras)
Salt and pepper to taste
12oz chicken livers (trimmed of any fat, sinew or discoloration; cut any big ones into a size equal to the small ones)
2 sprigs thyme and an extra ¼ t of minced or dry thyme
1 shallot, minced REALLY small
1½ oz cognac (I like Martell VS)
 
OPTIONAL ¼ c heavy cream

1. Put the livers to dry on paper towels and season with the salt and pepper. Melt the butter in 12" nonstick (gotta be nonstick for this) sauté pan over medium to med.-high heat. Cook the livers and thyme sprigs -- but don't move them -- for a couple of minutes (3, tops) until the livers JUST START to brown. Flip them over, then sprinkle the shallots between the livers (don't panic if you "miss" on a few) , and keep cooking until the livers get brown on the other side and shallots are getting softened, figure another couple of minutes. Now, carefully add the shot of cognac, and if you're not a delicate flower, flambé the cognac (this is a HUGE boost of flavor) otherwise skip it. In any event, over med.-high heat cook until the cognac is reduced to a third of its original volume.

2. Toss your thyme (at least the woody stems, don't panic if any teeny leaves lag behind...you have better things to do) and dump the liver et al. into your food processor and blitz for a nonstop half minute. (i.e. DO NOT PULSE) With the thing still spinning, add the 4 tablespoons goosefat/duckfat or, if you absolutely must, butter, a single bit at a time, until everything is even in color and texture. You may have to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl a few times. Upon every life a little rain must fall.

3. Now. Here's a key step in mimicking the foie gras thing. (If you don't care about that, skip it.) Empty the food processor into the finest meshed sieve you own (if you have a chinois, give yourself 5 extra points), placed over a suitably sized bowl. With a rubber spatula, squish the contents through sieve. At this point, all you have to do is put it all into a mold, sprinkle the remaining thyme over the whole thing, and chill and you have successfully replicated The Real Thing. But, if you wanna go all out, go for a "mousseline." How? Well...

4. Whip your heavy cream, using a VERY cold bowl and whisk...I freeze mine for 30 min. beforehand) to stiff peaks. Fold (don't, I beg you, knock out all the air of the cream you just whipped) the cream and thyme into the pâté until everything is even and smooth, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, as you go. Put into a big mold or or into small, individual ones, slap some plastic wrap flush on the surface of your now-it's-mousseline, and chill for it set, anywhere from 2 hours on up. It can hang out in the fridge up to 3 days or, tightly wrapped, frozen a month.) To serve, let it come up to ALMOST room temperature (about 50F or so) and shmeer on baguette.

Posted by JMG at 7:40 AM 3 comments