When we first got our stand mixer, the meat grinding attachment was one of the first accessories I wanted to buy for it. In addition to being able to grind my own ground beef mixtures and sausage, I really wanted to make a good country pate. I’ve spoken about my love for well-made pate before, but I’ve never actually tried to make it myself. There are hundreds of versions of this dish out there, so I read a few and came up with this recipe based on things I like to taste. It was a lot of work to grind the meat, mix it up, then cook it, but when I finally got that first taste of pate on toasted sourdough with just a dollop of mustard and a bite of cornichon it was all well worth it. This isn’t a dish that many people make around here, and it’s so rich that I don’t see myself making it very often – but when I want to treat myself, this is what I’m making.
Pâté de Campagne (Country Pâté)
- 2 pounds pork shoulder
- 1/2 pound pork belly. In most stores around Arkansas, all you’re going to find is salt pork. This can work just fine as long as you soak the pork overnight before using it, then blanch it for 10 minutes to remove excess salt.
- 1/4-1/2 pound pork or beef liver. Liver here is used more as a flavoring than as a main ingredient, so feel free to adjust how much you want to use based on taste. The recipe works with no liver whatsoever, but I feel that it needs some for that essential pate taste.
- 1/2 cup cognac
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed thyme
- 1 teaspoon powdered allspice
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 14 strips bacon
Preheat your oven to 350. Grind your pork shoulder, pork belly, and liver and mix together in a large bowl. Add the dry spices, mixing thoroughly. Add the eggs, cream, and cognac; blend until mixed thoroughly. Line a loaf pan with the bacon, with eight overlapping strips along the long ends of the pan and three pieces each on the ends, overlapping the edge of the pan with the bacon. Pack the ground meat mixture into the bacon-lined pan, pushing down with your fingers or the back of a spoon so that the mixture is firmly packed. Fold the bacon slices over, covering the pate. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place into a larger pan of hot water so that the water comes up about half-way on the loaf pan. Place both pans into the oven and bake for about two hours and fifteen minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155.
Remove the pate from the oven and drain the fat that has accumulated. Cover with foil, then weigh the pate down with a brick or some cans in another loaf pan. Let rest in the refrigerator overnight, then serve chilled or at room temperature with good bread, Dijon mustard, and cornichons. Enjoy!