Just a quick note to say I'm alive and well, though exhausted and overwhelmed from "the endless move". And endless it has been.
We got here a week ago and are still surrounded by boxes and what have you. Moving in town is worse that moving across the country, that I can attest to. When you move far away everything has to be packed in boxes, even the garbage! Don't laugh, I have arrived at the other end and found a waste paper basket full of discards.
I don't know how I'm going to unpack, decorate and receive my mother in two week's time. Something has to give and that something is, sad to say, blogging. But I will try to stop by and drop off a recipe or two of things I think you will enjoy making for the holidays...like this pate.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, now sadly out of print, La Cuisine de Normandie by Princess Marie Blanche de Broglie. It is typical of the area of Gascony and uses all the flavors typical of the region: duck, prunes and Armagnac. The sweetness of the prunes plays well with the rich duck meat in this savory recipe. It is simple to prepare and makes quite a splash.
Keep it ready in the refrigerator for family or guests and take some to the home of special friends, particularly if invited for Christmas Eve Dinner.
If you are a new subscriber, search around the site for Christmas recipes and ideas of the past three years. There's plenty to keep you busy.
Now back to the boxes...ugh.
4 1/2 - 5 pound duck, boned, or 2 large duck breasts and 2 dark chicken quarters, including thighs and drumsticks
1/2 cup Calvados
1 apple, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon butter
10 ounces loose sausage, try a mild "country" sausage
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Allspice to taste
Thyme, to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
6 prunes, pitted and quartered
1 small bay leaf
2 whole sage leaves
2 strips bacon or skin from chicken
Remove the meat from the bones of the duck and chicken. Cut one duck breast into 1/4-inch strips and the rest of the meat into chunks. Marinate the meat in the Calvados for at least one hour.
Mix the onion, shallots and apple; sauté them gently in butter. Using a grinder or food processor, chop the chunks of meat coarsely. Combine this meat, the sausage and the onion-apple mixture. Moisten it with the egg, add the seasonings and the Calvados, and mix well. Fry a small patty and check the seasoning.
Place 1/3 of the mixture on the bottom of an oiled 3 1/2 cup loaf pan or terrine. Then place half of the breast strips and the prunes on top, lengthwise; cover with another third of the meat mixture, and repeat. Put the bay leaf and sage leaves on top and cover with the bacon or chicken skin and foil.
Bake the paté in a water bath in a preheated 325 oven until done, about 1 1/2 hours. Weight the pan until the paté is cool (Note: use another pan with a can of tomatoes on top). Refrigerate it for a day or two before serving.
Serve on very thin white toast.
From "The Cuisine of Normandy" by Princess Marie-Blanche de Broglie