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Coarse Country Pate

If you long to eat some of the rough country pâté available all over France, but in short supply here, why not make some? You won't believe how blissfully easy it is, and using a processor instead of buying the meat ready-minced makes it even coarser and chunkier. Serve it for lunch with a side salad or watercress, some crisp cornichons and char-grilled or toasted country bread, and, if you close your eyes, you're in France!

 
 
 Coarse Country Pate

  Serves 10-12

Ingredients
 12 oz (350 g) minced pork
 1 lb (450 g) British pork streaky rashers, with as much fat as possible
 10 oz (275 g) dry-cured smoked streaky British bacon
 8 oz (225 g) British pigs' liver
 20 juniper berries
 20 whole black peppercorns
 1 heaped teaspoon salt
 ¼ rounded teaspoon ground mace
 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
 1 heaped teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
 4 fl oz (120 ml) dry white wine
 1 fl oz (25 ml) brandy
To garnish:
 fresh bay leaves
 a few extra juniper berries
Oven temperatures and Conversions
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Equipment
You will also need a terrine with a 3 pint (1.75 litre) capacity or 2 lb (900 g) loaf tin.

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Three and has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine.

Method

You'll find it's best to process the different meats one at a time (finishing with the pigs' liver, as this is the messiest). Begin by cutting the meat into rough pieces, then place them in the food processor bowl and process until quite finely chopped.

Next, tip each meat in turn into a large mixing bowl and mix them together very thoroughly. Now coarsely crush first the juniper berries and then the black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and add these to the meat, along with 1 heaped teaspoon of salt, the mace, garlic and thyme. Now you need to mix again even more thoroughly to distribute all the flavours evenly.

After this, add the wine and brandy and give it a final mix, then cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it in a cool place for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to be absorbed.

Before cooking the pâté, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).

Then pack the mixture into the terrine or loaf tin and decorate the top with the bay leaves and the extra juniper berries. Place the terrine or tin in a roasting tin half-filled with hot water on the centre shelf of the oven and leave it there for about 1¾ hours. By the time it has cooked, the pâté will have shrunk quite a bit.

Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool without draining off any of the surrounding juices; once the pâté has cooled, the surrounding fat and jelly will keep it beautifully moist.

When the pâté is cold, place a double strip of foil across the top and put a few weights on to press it down for at least a few hours – this pressing isn't essential but it helps to make the pâté less crumbly if you want to serve it in slices. If you don't have any scale weights, use any heavy object: bricks, tins of food or any innovation you can think of instead.

If you don't weight it you can serve it in chunks rather than slices. Then, place the pâté, weights and all, into the fridge overnight.

To serve the pâté you need to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes ahead, to return it to room temperature, then turn it out of the terrine or loaf tin and remove the surrounding jelly and any fat. Slice and serve with cornichons, watercress and hot toasted or chargrilled bread, or some very crusty, fresh bread.

For char-grilled bread: pre-heat a char-grill pan for about 10 minutes so that it is really hot. Cut your chosen bread into fairly thick slices, then lay them on the char-grill pan.

Turn over when they have got nice dark stripes (about 40 seconds if the pan is really hot) and repeat on the other side.

 

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