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Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Civilized Picnic Lunch

I have been inspired of late. Not sure if it's the fleeting re-appearance of summer or the end of wedding planning season. (The lead up to getting married takes up far too much emotional and intellectual energy even for us non-bridezilla types and perhaps now that I am happily married, my brain has refocused on my primary pre-occupation: food!)

Paris is truly one of my favourite places because of its outdoor market culture. Although, I must confess that I have never met an outdoor market, I didn’t like. Markets in Paris sell everything, books, clothes, flowers and of course, foods. As we explored neighbourhoods and strolled down streets, we stumbled upon many markets in Paris. We weaved through markets, peering in to see what the many vendors had on offer, often picking up an impossibly light baguette, some plums, and nuts. We rounded out our market goodies with a thick slice of buttery pâté, a small wheel of rich and oozy brie, and a small handful of bittersweet chocolate squares. On a lazy afternoon, these are the best lunches – an impromptu gathering of nibbles and bites.

Today, I visited my favourite market of all markets - St. Lawrence Market with the intention of coming home with such a lunch for Ryan and me. I bought a basket full of goodies for our lunch: bresaola (salty, air-cured beef sliced thinner than paper – oh heaven!); reggiano parmesan, mini sesame breadsticks and Callebaut bittersweet chocolate. Instead of buying the delicious pâtés and rillettes they had on offer, I decided to make my own pâté. So much for a low effort lunch... but at least there will be some for freezing. Very few things are as luxurious as a smooth, rich potted pâté. In fact, this type of pate is low on the cooking effort scale. Like love, this pâté is meant to be savoured and shared.

Truffled Chicken Pâté - Terrine De Foies De Volaille

1 lb fresh chicken livers (cleaned)
1 c onion (finely minced)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 oz cognac
2 bay leaves
1 tsp truffle oil
3/4 c butter

1. Roughly chop chicken livers.
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan, add chicken livers, onions, and bay leaves.
3. Cook until chicken livers are slightly pink. Add cognac. Heat until alcohol has evaporated. (This should take a minute or two.) Remove off heat. Cover and cool.
4. When the mixture has slightly cooled, drain the liquid, reserving about 1/2c. (use it to thin out the mixture as you process it, as required.)
5. Process mixture in batches in a food processor. You are looking for a smooth creamy consistency. Set aside to cool completely.
6. If you haven't already, take the butter out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
7. When mixture is fully cooled, and the butter is at room temperature, fully incorporate butter and truffle oil into the pâté mixture with a spatula.
8. Pack into small pots for serving. If not serving right away, melt butter in a saucepan, and pour melted butter (without the milk solids) to preserve the pâté. Or pack into an air-tight container to freeze for another day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love chicken liver pate. This recipe looks pretty easy. Thanks for the recipe. Must give it a try.

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