Monday, July 8, 2013

Picnic Fare...Duck Pate De Campagne

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I know you are going to take a quick look at the ingredients and directions of this recipe and come to the erroneous conclusion that this is not for you.   Thus, you will be missing out on one of the best pates you will ever or in France.

Some of the best things I have ever made have come from what was left over from a previous meal.  This is one of them. It reminds me of recipes I have initially discarded as too complicated and only after a second reading have I come to the conclusion that they can be made in two stages with the first being an original meal and the leftovers the basis for the second. Case in point, the original recipe for this pate involves roasting a duck.  Do you remember the last time I roasted one? If you are an avid follower you will recall that it was at Christmas time when I had to cancel a party and give away a couple of ducks because I had come down with the flu.  Not a flu, THE FLU.   Well one of the ducks did get roasted sometime in January and the leftovers packed and put in the freezer for a summer pate.

About a month ago I got a call from my daughter to clear out "all the body parts" from the freezer to make room for a Costco run.  Guess what I found!   Carefully packed and surrounded by other "body parts" like chicken livers and wings and backs, which I freeze to make broth, was the leftover meat from the ducks together with the livers.  The next day I took out a trio of recipes that had appealed to me and off I went.

Now here's the rub.  The pate is made over a period of a week and laid in the refrigerator to rest for at least another three days, so plan ahead.  The steps are simple and not complicated.  I promise you will not be in the kitchen on any of these days for more than 20 minutes.  The end result will be an amazing pate and one you will be proud to take anywhere, especially on a picnic!

This recipe is for 12 or 14.  You can always bake it in two terrine molds and serve them at different times.  It goes a long way.   Also perfect for when you have weekend guests served with a French potato salad, lightly dressed,  a baguette or toast points, Dijon mustard and cornichons.   The perfect Saturday lunch.   Concert in the park, lunch on the boat?  How about the perfect hostess gift!

My lunch three days in a row!

I suggest you roast a duck, or two, and make a meal of it one night and use the leftovers for this recipe.  I know it can be a pain to roast a duck when it's hot but you have no other alternative if you want to enjoy a duck pate in the summer.  Just looking at these photos makes me want to make it again!

Duck Pate de Campagne


1 lbs roasted duck meat from leftovers
3 cloves garlic minced

4 tbsp. Cognac,  or Grand Marnier (I used Cognac)
9 fresh or dried bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine

1 lb. ground pork
3⁄4 lb. fatback, chilled
1⁄4 lb. duck or chicken livers
1/4 finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp. chopped thyme
leaves plus 8 sprigs
1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves
1⁄2 tsp. allspice
1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 or 3 chicken livers cut in half
4 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt

1⁄3 cup shelled pistachios
3 tbsp. dried green peppercorns
12–15 slices bacon


Day 1

1. Cut the leftover meat from the duck breasts into 1⁄2" cubes. Transfer duck,  2 finely chopped  garlic cloves, Cognac or orange liqueur,  3 torn bay leaves,  to a small bowl; stir to coat the duck pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 3 days, to allow the flavors to come together. (The longer the duck marinates, the better the pâté will taste.)

This is all you will do today.

 Day 3

In a bowl combine the ground pork, the fatback or bacon cut into pieces, the chopped dark meat from the duck legs.  

2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, finely chop the remaining garlic and the shallots. Scrape the sides of the bowl with rubber spatula. Add dark duck meat and fatback or bacon and the livers. . In short bursts, pulse until the mixture resembles coarse hamburger meat, about 20 pulses. Add the ground pork and pulse a couple of times until just combined.  Transfer to a large bowl. To this bowl also add the duck breast meat with the marinade. Add the white wine and the pistachios.

Add  chopped thyme, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until well combined. Test the mixture for seasoning by heating some olive oil in an 8" skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer a pinch of the mixture to skillet and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Taste; adjust seasoning accordingly.

 Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 3 days, to allow the meats to cure and the flavors to come together.

Day 6

3.When you're ready to assemble the pâté, remove bay leaves from duck mixture; discard. Using a spoon, fold duck mixture and any juices from marinade into the forcemeat along with the pistachios and peppercorns; set aside in the refrigerator.

4. Meanwhile, line the bottom of a 1 1⁄2-qt. rectangular terrine mold with 4 evenly spaced thyme sprigs and 3 bay leaves. Place bacon crosswise along the bottom and up the sides of the mold, covering the herbs.

5. Spoon the meat–duck mixture into the terrine mold and gently smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Lay 4 strips bacon lengthwise across the top of the pâté. Cover bacon with remaining thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cover the top of the pâté with 2 sheets of aluminum foil; crimp foil around edges of the mold to form a tight seal.

6. Heat oven to 325°. Transfer terrine mold to a 9" x 13" baking dish. Transfer dish to middle rack of the oven. Pour in enough boiling water that it reaches 1⁄2" up the sides of the terrine. Bake the pâté until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center reads 158°, about 2 hours.

7. Transfer baking dish to a rack; remove foil. Cut out 2 rectangles of cardboard to fit inside rim of terrine mold. Wrap cardboard rectangles in foil and place them over pâté. Place three 15-oz. soup cans atop cardboard; let sit in water bath for 1 hour; remove. (Weighting makes the pâté easier to slice.)

8. Refrigerate pâté (in its mold) for at least 1 day and up to 4 days. To serve, slide a knife along edges of pâté to loosen it. Invert the pâté onto a cutting board and slide a butter knife along one short edge to free the pâté from the mold. Cut into 3⁄4" slices and serve with baguette, Dijon mustard, and cornichons.


Cooks Note:  I have a couple of these terrine molds made in France by Apilco.

Recipe and photos Lindaraxa


  1. Looking at the photos makes ME want to make it too. Wish I had that pretty terrine. We both adore duck pate.

  2. Sam,

    This is right up your alley!

  3. Hey! I'm considering linking to this recipe in an article I'm writing.. I'm just going to use the pic and a short description, but will give you a photo credit and link back to you for the full recipe. If you're not OK with that or want more info, please post a comment.


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