Saturday, January 8, 2011

Easy Country Pate and Duck Prociutto

Living in a two person household where one of those persons is a vegan (not me) I rarely have the opportunity to dabble in the art of charcuterie for my own personal benefit.  However, I'm happy to say that many of my clients adore cured meats of all kinds and keep me busy emptying boxes of kosher salt.

I want to share these simple recipes with you that can easily be made in a home kitchen with limited time spent waiting for results.  Both are delicious and will impress your most carnivorous connoisseur.  Conveniently, neither recipe requires any special equipment!

Country Pate

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sliced shallots
3/4 cup sherry
 2 1/2 pounds ground pork
12 ounces bacon (thick slices), cut in cubes
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 bunch parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice, ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 6-ounce piece ham steak, cut into cubes
Dijon mustard
-Melt butter in a saute pan and, when it begins to foam, add the sliced shallots.  
-Sautee them on medium heat until they become transparent.
-Then, add the sherry and reduce the liquid until it is dry.
-Cool the mixture.
-In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, with the sauteed shallots, bacon, pressed garlic, salt, chopped parsley, alspice, black pepper, eggs, heavy cream and ham.  Use clean hands to lightly mix everything together until its well blended.
-Fill two loaf pans with the mixture and press it down into the pans evenly.
-Cover the pans with foil.   Place pans inside a larger baking pan and transfer to oven set to 350F. 
-Pour boiling water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of loaf pan (this is called a bain marie). -Bake pâté until a thermometer inserted through foil into center registers 155°F, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
-Remove loaf pan from baking pan and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Place heavy skillet or 2 to 3 heavy cans on top of the pâté to weigh it down and chill overnight. 
-To serve it, place the loaf pan with pâté in larger pan or sink of hot water for about 3 minutes. Invert pâté onto platter; discard fat from platter and wipe clean. Cut pâté crosswise into slices. 
-Eat pâté with lots of cornichons and dijon mustard.  I love it on grilled sourdough bread!

Duck Prociutto

1 Duck breast
2 cups salt
2 tsp juniper berries
4 sprigs of thyme
2 tsp lightly crushed black pepper

-Mix the salt, juniper berries, thyme and black pepper
-Nestle the duck breast with the salt all around.  If you have a pan that just fits the duck breast (like a loaf pan) use that.  If not, you can wrap the duck breast and salt in plastic wrap tightly.
-Let the duck sit in the salt for 24 hours.
-After 24 hours, rinse the salt off the duck and pat dry with a paper towel.  The duck breast should be firmer and darker.
-Wrap the duck in cheese cloth (you can also use a nylon stocking bag) and hang it by a string in a cool humid place (best if it is 50-60F with a slight draft).
-Dry the duck for about 7 days.  The duck should be stiff - not completely dry and not squishy.
-Slice thinly on the bias.
-You can make a canape with orange and fennel marmelade or serve as simple charcuterie with homemade sauerkraut, whole grain mustard and fresh bread.