Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pâté de Campagne

This is the recipe I used to make Pâté de Campagne this Thanksgiving.  Not an original recipe of mine, but an adaptation of this recipe -- Bon Appetit - January 2009  --  written by Molly Wizenberg, then a Cooking Life columnist for Bon Appetit, and also author of the blog,  Orangette.  For the pâté I made, I replaced chicken livers for about half of the ground pork, substituted pork loin for ham steak, and made just a few other minor changes. The end result tastes just like the pâté I remember making with my mother years ago -- our recipe then was from a Gourmet magazine (before the time of PC's and archived recipes), and was since lost.  Serve with toast points or baguettes. (Note: This recipe makes 2 terrines -- 1 regular size loaf  and one mini size loaf (perfect for giving as a gift).


1 lb. chicken livers, rinsed, trimmed and cut in 2-3 pieces each

1 lb. ground pork

2 boneless pork loin chops (about 3/4 lb.), cut into 1 inch cubes

10 pieces bacon, chopped (I used Oscar Meyer center cut)

Additional  bacon to line the pan (about 16 for regular loaf pan, plus about another 6-8 for mini-loaf pan)

2 large shallots, minced

4 med. garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. ground pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup brandy or cognac

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts

This is what they look like before baking


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

(1) Process shallots and garlic in food processor until well minced. Place into a large bowl for mixing.

(2) In food processor, in small batches -- about 6 portions:    Process portion of chopped bacon until minced.  Then to it add portions of pork, ground pork and chicken livers (small portions each time).  Pulse to get texture that is not totally smooth, but make sure the pork loin chops are chopped up enough -- Country pâté is not meant to be a smooth pate, it is meant to have texture.   After each batch of meat is finished in the food processor, transfer it to the large bowl with the shallots and garlic.

(3) When all meat has been processed and added to the bowl, add the: salt, dried thyme, allspice, ground pepper, and eggs.  Mix together thoroughly. Add brandy (or cognac) and heavy cream; stir to mix thoroughly.  Mix in pistachio nuts.

(4) Line the loaf pans decoratively with bacon strips, saving some to cover the top of the loaves. This will be part of the finished product, so you want it to look good.

(5) Using a spatula, fill the bacon lined loaf pans with the pâté mixture.  Smooth down top with the spatula.  Line the tops with bacon strips to cover.

(6) Cover the pans tightly with aluminum foil.

(7) Place both pate loaf pans in a larger 13 x 9 x 2" baking pan. Place the large pan in the center of the preheated oven (350 degrees). Pour boiling water about an inch deep into the 13 x 9 x 2" pan -- so the loaf pans are baking in the water-filled pan.  Bake the smaller mini loaf pan for 2 hours, and the regular size loaf pan for 2 1/2 hours. Before removing pans from the oven, insert a ready-read thermometer into the center of each to check that the temperature in the middle is at least 170 degrees.

(8) Remove loaf pans from the oven and set on a rimmed baking sheet.  Cut some corrugated cardboard to fit the size of the top of each loaf pan.  Set fitted cardboard piece on top of the loaf pan. Place baking sheet with pans into the refrigerator.  On top of the cardboard covered tops, place cans of soup, etc to weigh down the pâté ( this will help create the proper texture and make it easier to cut.)  Refrigerate at least overnight.  

(9) When ready to serve, loosen the edges with a knife, then turn out onto a serving plate.  Cut into 1/2 inch slices to serve.  Serve with toast points or baguette slices.

(10) Re-wrap any leftovers very well with two layers of plastic wrap, and then place in a sealed zip-lock bag.  Keep refrigerated.  Can be made ahead.  Can be kept several days in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

This is the cranberry sauce I make every year for Thanksgiving, although it's great anytime.  It has only 3 ingredients, is not cooked, can be made in 5 minutes, and is delicious!


One medium bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained

1 large navel orange, with peel still on, washed and rinsed, and (with peel still on!) cut into halves, then each half cut in eight pieces

3/4 - 1 cup sugar, to taste


In a food processor, in batches, process a handful or two of cranberries with some orange pieces.  Process until consistency is minced, but not too fine.  Put the minced fruit into a serving dish, and continue processing more batches of cranberries and oranges, until you are finished.  Add the sugar to all the minced fruit in the bowl and stir -- start with 3/4 cup sugar  and if that's now sweet enough, you can add more.  Refrigerate until cold, and serve.  Can be made a day or two ahead.

French Onion Soup

Homemade French Onion Soup is the best!  The most important part of the preparation is to cook the onions slowly for a long time -- that's the  key to the sweetness.  Over med-low heat it should take at least half an hour -- it took me an hour when I made it today  (although I was also trying to help Andrew with his algebra homework).  Do not try to rush it, the onions should not brown at all, just aiming for a nice golden color and very soft. (Note: you can use Provolone or Parmesan, instead of Swiss cheese, depending on what you like and what you have on hand-- it is all good, except Parmesan will have to be grated or very thinly sliced!)  Makes 4-6 bowls.


4 large onions, cut in half and then sliced very thin ( I like to mix white onions and sweet onions, like Vidalia)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 

32 oz. beef broth (College Inn packaged broth is good, and does not need to be diluted like Campbell's)

1 can Campbell's beef consomme, plus 1 can water to dilute (this gives a little more flavor than just broth)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 

fresh sliced French bread (baguette or sourdough) -- about 1/2 inch thick

slices Swiss cheese (1-2 pieces to cover the bread, depending on type of cheese -- lacey needs 2 pieces) (See Note above)

When the onions first go in the pot.

See how much they cook down!

In a large pot, melt butter on med-low heat, add onion slices and cook on med-low heat, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and golden (caramelized) -- (see notes at top of recipe) -- this will take 1/2 - one hour.  It seems like a lot of onions, but they do cook down. You may have to turn down the heat near the end; you do not want the onions to burn or be crisp. When onions are done, add the 4 Tbsp. flour to them, and stir thoroughly.  Cook another minute or two, stirring.  Add the beef broth, consomme, water, salt and pepper; stir to mix well.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.


Ladle some soup in each bowl -- not higher than about an inch below the top of the bowl to leave room for the bread and cheese.  Put the bread slice (or slices, if baguette) on top of the soup.  Put the cheese slice(s) on top of the bread. Arrange it so that when it melts, it all stays in the bowl.  Put the bowls on a cookie sheet.  Carefully place the cookie sheet in the oven on the middle shelf.  Turn on the broiler.  Keep the oven door open a bit and watch continuously until the cheese is melted and just begins to brown a bit.  This does not take more than a minute. Immediately remove from the oven and serve.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vegetable Soup

Autumn is a great time of year to make vegetable soup, like this one made with root vegetables.  Serve with some good bread, like sour dough.



2 large sweet onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, with leaves if possible, chopped
1 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 medium carrots, sliced
2 large (or 4 small) parsnips, peeled and chopped (slice the thin portion, then quarter and slice the rest)
1 medium rutabaga, chopped (first need to cut off all the waxy outside with a sharp knife) 
4 cups fresh baby spinach, slightly chopped to taste
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
10 cups water
2-1/2 tsp. kosher salt  


In a large pot, add 10 cups water, all chopped vegetables (except spinach), salt and butter.  Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cook until vegetables are fork tender (about 1-1/2 hours), then add chopped spinach and cook about 10 minutes longer.  Serve hot.