Venison Pate

Now I don’t get any credit for this recipe – this was all my husband John. While he was working on venison pate, I was working on pork pate (that will be posted at a later date). He also took the photos of his pate, so be sure to take a look, he captured as many steps as he could. He also recommends halving the recipe, and using a 1-lb bread pan.

We love textured pate, also known as country pate for it’s not so smooth texture. We served this at our Christmas party, and half the loaf was gone after 4 hours. And most of our guests left with frozen slices and intructions on how to defrost. It’s delicious served by itself with lightly peppered toasted baguette slices, or garnish a platter with cornichons, mustards or even tart jams, like currant.

We had ours out with raspberry mustard, plenty of cornichons and pickled pearl onions. Of course this recipe makes a lot of pate so slice 1/2 inch thick, wrap individually in plastic, and place in a freezer bag.

Venison Pate – one 3-pound loaf
1 small venison tenderloin (about 1/4-lb)
3 tablespoons gin
12 juniper berries
2 large shallots, minced
1 cup chicken livers
2 tablespoons dry thyme
2 tablespoons dry rosemary
2 tablespoons allspice
2 pounds ground pork
2 pounds ground veal
2 pounds ground venison
2 eggs
Salt and pepper
13 slices of bacon
2 fresh bay leaves

Special equipment: terrine mold or 3lb bread pan.

Slice the venison tenderloin into strips. Marinate the strips overnight with gin and juniper berries in a ziploc bag, try to remove as much air.

The next day, in a food processor, mix together the shallots, chicken livers, thyme, rosemary, and allspice, and process into a puree. In a large bowl, mix together the pork, veal, and ground venison. Add the liver mixture and the eggs.

Pour the juice from the marinated strips, including the gin and juniper berries, into the meat mixture. Set the strips aside for later. Salt and pepper the mixture generously. Gently saute a tablespoon of the mixture to taste test. Pate must be well seasoned and spiced, because it will lose a little flavor as it’s cooked.

Preheat the oven to 300 degress F. Place a pan or casserole dish, large enough to hold the bread in the oven, filled 1/3 of the way with water. Line a 3 pound terrine with the bacon on all sides. Lay 1/3 of the ground meat in the terrine. Pack tightly by pressing down with your hands. Add the thin strips of marinated venison. Do not create a thick layer, push the strips into the meat. If the meat does not surround the strips, the pate will split when cut. Top with the remainder of the meat.

The terrine should be overfilled, as pate reduces in size after cooking. Cover the ground meat with bacon strips. Top with two bay leaves. Cover with aluminum foil. Set the terrine in the prepared pan of hot water. Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for another 35 minutes. Check temperature after about 25 minutes using an instant-read thermometer. When the pate reaches 160 degrees F and juices run clear the pate is done.

Remove the terrine from oven, lay foil on top and place on a baking sheet. Place another baking sheet over the terrine, and top with a few heavy cans. Let the pâté cool on the kitchen counter. The more weight on the top the better to allow the fat to leave the pan. When the pate has cooled, cover it tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 day.

To remove the pate from the bread pan, place the bread pan in a casserole dish, add enough hot water to casserole dish to reach 1/2 way up bread pan, let sit for 3 or so minutes. Place cutting board over the bread pan, lift out of water, and flip. The bread pan should slide off. Clean off any excess fat on the pate using a paper towel.

Serve at room temperature or cold. Slice and serve on toast, accompanied by French cornichons. Pate can be kept tightly covered for up to three weeks in the refrigerator. Or freeze as intruscted above, and place in refrigerator night before enjoying to thaw.

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Bon Appetit!

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