What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear pâté? If the answer is "what is pâté?" you're not alone. Unless you've been to a fancy French restaurant, it's unlikely you've heard of this high-brow delicacy. The word pâté translates to paste. Put simply, pâté is a mixture of ground meat and seasonings, with a variety of base ingredients. It can be served hot or cold, and is traditionally baked in a crust, or molded as a terrine.
Pâté makes a delicious and unexpected addition to a charcuterie platter. It's best eaten with a crusty baguette and cornichons. It's the perfect appetizer for a holiday feast that will impress your guests.
Why So Fancy?
Pâté is typically associated with French cuisine, though versions of it are all found worldwide. Often, when people hear pâté, they think of classic delicacies using duck liver or goose liver.
While the dish existed in several forms throughout Europe, it was the French who took it over the top. They added more complex flavors and enhanced the texture to be more spreadable, like mousse.
A good pâté is rich and luxurious, giving the meal an elevated feeling. While it can be made with high-end ingredients, you can make a delicious and inexpensive pâté from humble ingredients like chicken liver.
Where To Buy Pâté
While most grocery stores carry pâté, the first place you should check is at a specialty meat or cheese shop. Next, run to your local grocery store to check out their selection. Surprisingly the Publix nearby has a large assortment of pâté!
You can also order canned pâté online from places such as Goldbelly or Amazon. Be warned, a lot of cat food options come up when you search pâté on Amazon!
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Types of Pâté
There are hundreds of pâté recipes, suitable for every taste and every budget. Before making pâté, you need to decide which forcemeat to use. Forcemeat is a mixture of ground meat and fat. Country-style forcemeat is the easiest to prepare and great for the first time. It is traditionally made using ground pork and pork fat.
Let's take a closer look at some unique pâté options for your next dinner party:
1. Chicken Liver Pâté
This easy liver Pâté uses chicken livers that are pureed in a food processor. Shallots, garlic, and cognac are added for enhanced flavor.
2. Pâté De Foie Gras
Foie gras is made from fatty duck liver and is considered the "king of Pâté." If you've got money to spare, this is an extravagant splurge.
3. Pâté en Croute
This type of pâté is cooked with a pastry crust top. Originally, the crust was meant to hold the pate together, and not be eaten. Now, the crust is a beautiful and delicious.
4. Wild Game Pâté
This pâté can be made with any game meat, like venison, boar, or quail. a must-try for adventurous eaters.
5. Pâté Grandmère
This most-loved dish is, made from 3 varieties of meat, breadcrumbs, sugar, and lard. It originated in Gascony, a region known for prunes and Armagnac.
6. Pâté De Campagne
Also known as country pâté, it is made with pork liver. It's also technically classified as a terrine. A terrine is made from ground meat that is cooked in a mold. Think of it as a fancy meatloaf.
Terrines are cooked in a water bath, sometimes covered in aspic (infused gelatin) for decoration. The internal garnish can be fresh herbs or smoked meat, depending on your preference.
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