Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tell Your Mama

Welcome Back to Everything's Better Wrapped in Bacon Week!

This is the recipe that started this whole adventure. As you may recall, my inspiration to cook through the Fannie Farmer Cookbook was a recipe for Pate de campagne by Molly Wizenberg in Bon Apetit.

I immediately turned to the Fannie Farmer Cookbook for her version, which is, wait for it, wrapped in bacon! FF's describes pate as a cold meatloaf, which is a pretty accurate description. This recipe requires a lot of fat because "it is the fat that keeps the meat moist during cooking." After cooking, the pate is pressed so that the fat runs out.

And speaking of fat, this is another one of Thatgirl's "rules to live by" - make friends with your butcher! When I went in to get the pork fat we got into a discussion of pate, with him sharing his family's recipe, and me promising to bring him in a copy of this one. And then he sent me off with over a pound of pork fat - for free. I'll be dropping the recipe off on Friday when I go to pick up some veal knuckles!

The result of this? Well Ms. Wizenberg describes the taste of a good pate to be near transcendent. If this is true. I haven't quite hit it yet. Thatboy didn't appreciate this at all. As for me, I liked this SO much better than regular meatloaf. Was it because it was cold? Because it was pork and chicken? Because it was wrapped in bacon? Who knows. But I can tell you there is quite a feeling of accomplishment when you pull this sucker from the oven. Or when you tell your butcher you're making a pate. Or when you can casually toss "So that pate I made last weekend" into a conversation.

Chicken and Pork Pate (From The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
  • 1 whole chicken breast, skinned and boned
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 3/4-2 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 2/4 lb pork with some fat on
  • 1 lb solid pork fat
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Madeira
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 3/4 lb bacon
  1. Cut the chicken breast lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips.
  2. Toss them with the brandy and let marinate while preparing the other ingredients.
  3. Remove the skin and cut away the meat from the chicken thighs.
  4. Grind this, along with the pork and the pork fat by running though the food processor.
  5. Add the eggs, Madeira, salt, shallots, allspice, cloves, and a generous amount of pepper and thyme.
  6. Beat the mixture until smooth and well blended.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the strips of bacon in.
  8. Let them cook 2-3 minutes, just enough to reduce their saltiness and then drain, rinse, and pat dry.
  9. Line a 2 qt casserole with the bacon, leaving overhanging pieces to cover the top.
  10. Pat in a layer of the meat, then lay strips of chicken breast over in a neat line, about 1/2 inch apart.
  11. Add another layer of meat, then chicken strips, ending with a final layer of meat.
  12. Pull the bacon strips over to cover the top of the meat, trimming off the excess to avoid a double layer.
  13. Cover with foil and with a snug-fitting lid. Place the casserole in a pan of hot water that comes halfway up the sides. Bake for 1-1 1/4 hours, or until the fat runs clear.
  14. Remove from the oven, uncover, and weight down with a plate that just fits inside the casserole, on which you place heavy cans. Let cool completely. Refrigerate, preferably 24 hours, then serve cool, but not ice cold.


  1. i still need to find a good butcher, besides bristol farms, in our area. one of these days....

  2. I don't know how I feel about this one. I've never had pate so I'll have to reserve judgment until I've tasted something like this myself.

  3. What an interesting pate recipe and as much as I enjoy it, I can't say that I've had one made with chicken and bacon like this! I do feel adventurous enough to give this a try!!

  4. Knowing your butcher is key...for me who are in the catering bussiness it is absolutely crucial! The pate looks real good~

  5. We are never full also talked about knowing their butcher. Now you...I want a butcher to be my friend. The only one I've found is too expensive.

  6. I have never made pate- Wow what a true challenge and you made a new friend too! Have you found something that you will NOT make from the FF book?

  7. You have a butcher??? My "butcher" . . . is Costco :) We're still friends though, right?

  8. heh. obviously, i'm reading your posts backwards.