Whenever I don’t know what to bring to a party or gathering, I gravitate toward the old standbys. No, not chips and dip or cheese and crackers — a country pâté. And not just any pâté, my grandmother’s recipe. Madou’s pâté de campagne.
It never fails to win over the crowd. I brought one to a party last Christmas and watched as four of the guests stood vigil around the dish, sampling, nibbling and scarcely letting other revelers near the serving tray.
I was surprised to see chafing dishes filled with ziti, chicken fingers and other conventional offerings which sat virtually unnoticed while this pâté was picked clean. Not an exaggeration!
Whether you’re hosting a party or lucky enough to be a guest this New Year’s Eve, you’ll want several of these little beauties on hand. As a host, you’ll need it for your hors d’oeuvre offering and if you’re the guest, wrap one up and gift it to your host. I guarantee grateful bellies.
This is my grandmother’s recipe, after all and as a French woman, she knows a thing or two about good food. Happy New Year!
- 1 pound chicken livers
- 1 pound fresh country sausage (I use Jimmy Dean- regular)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon dry milk powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 ounce gin (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon fines herbes or herbes de provence
- 3 whole bay leaves - the prettiest and flatest one's in the jar
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups hot water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Clean the chicken livers, by removing any excess fat and cutting away any large veins. Transfer livers to a mini-prep food processor and pulse several (8-10) times until the livers are well chopped, but not completely smooth.
- In a large bowl combine the chicken livers and the sausage. Use your hands to blend the sausage into the chicken livers until they are well combined and their are no large chunks. Add the egg, nonfat dry milk, herbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and gin. Use your hands again to completely combine the ingredients together. Set aside.
- Prepare the loaf pan or if you have a pate mould with a vented lid, use it. You can make one large pâté or several smaller ones.
- For one large pâté use an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" loaf pan.
- For three smaller (gifting size) pates use a 5 3/4" x 3 1/2" x 2" loaf pan.
- Place a bay leaf, pretty side facing down in the center of the loaf pans (If you're making a large pâté, arrange all three bay leaves decoratively in the pan.
- Ladle the pate into the loaf pans and cover tightly with aluminum foil. With a sharp knife make several slits in the aluminum so steam can escape.
- Place the loaf pan in a 13" x 9" x 2" pan and set the pan in the oven. Carefully pour the hot water into the 13 x9 inch pan until the water comes up about halfway on the loaf pan. Cook the smaller pâtés for about 50 minutes in the water bath. For the large pâté, cook for an hour and 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pâtés from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight. Pâté is best when the flavors marry for several days before serving.
- To serve, run a sharp knife around the edges of the pate and flip it out onto a serving dish. Serve with crackers,crostini and/or crudite.
- Cornichons are a traditional garnish. I like a little dijon mustard as well.