Veal and Pork Country Pâté

Veal and pork country pate on a board.

French pâté is the quintessential welcome nosh for entertaining, setting the tone for a festive evening. If you know how to make meatloaf, then you essentially know how to make pâté; this Veal and Pork Country pâté is delicious, elegant, and perfect for cocktail parties and the holidays.

Soaking prunes in alcohol.

My trip to the Fancy Foods Show in New York this summer, introduced me to some really exceptional products from oils and sauces to hand cured meats and cheeses, plus a lot of fun, healthy ways to snack. When I come across something that stands out to me, I want to share it with you. Such is the case with these Organic French Agen Plums from Fruit Bliss. They are plump, uber-moist and tender and because they’re not sweetened, these dried plums are ideal for this Veal and Pork Country Pâté.

This French pâté (pronounced pat-tay) is based on my Mother’s recipe and it’s always a hit during the holidays. In fact, it’s usually the most requested dish at my brother’s Christmas Eve open house. Her recipe uses chunks of Virginia Ham and sherry which give it a festive appearance and flavor. This version deviates slightly by skipping the ham and instead, soaking those gorgeous French Agen prunes in Cognac for little pops of sweetness throughout the terrine.

I am adding soaked prunes to the veal pate mixture.

What could be more “French” than soaking prunes in cognac (or armagnac or Calvados). For this French pâté, that’s exactly what we do. Roughly chop the dried plums into bite sized pieces then cover them with cognac to steep.  They don’t need to bathe too long, 10-20 minutes is all they need. And don’t worry, your not tossing out that cognac… it’s all going in this country pâté.

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How to make a pâté:

  1. While the prunes are steeping in the cognac, add the ground pork and veal with eggs, herbs, salt, pepper, garlic and green onions to a large bowl. Use your clean hands to mix thoroughly.
  2. Add the steeped prunes and cognac and mix well until the prunes are evenly distributed throughout the french pâté mixture.
  3. Lastly, add the whole pistachios. I love pistachios because of the hint of green that peeks through when you slice this country pâté. That beautiful chartreuse color makes them especially festive in this pâté for the holidays.
  4. Transfer the country pâté mixture to a bacon-lined 2-quart terrine or straight-sided loaf pan and cook in a water bath for 1½ hours.
  5. I like to drain carefully the pâté of excess liquid when it cools enough to handle, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before cutting into it.  This allows the country pâté to “set” properly and to achieve those beautiful even slices.

This country pâté recipe makes a lot, so it’s perfect for a large gathering… however, even if you’re just having a few people over, this is a good appetizer to have on hand.

How to serve pâté for smaller groups:

  1. After the terrine  has rested overnight in the refrigerator, slice the pâté into 4-5 more manageable chunks, re-wrap them in plastic wrap and freezer paper and freeze them until you need one. This way you take out what you need when you need it.
  2. The day before you’re serving, thaw the French pâté in the refrigerator. Just before company arrives, slice the pate into 1″ thick slices and arrange on a small serving platter surrounded by  toasted French bread rounds or beautiful crackers.
  3. Alternatively, make mini pâtés in small loaf pans.  Follow the same steps as you would for making the French pâté, but use several loaf pans that measure 3″ x 5″ and reduce the cooking time to about 45-50 minutes in the water bath. This would make a lovely smaller pâté (also perfect for a hostess gift or present for the foodie in  your life.)
  4. For a starter,  Slice the pâté into about ⅓” slices and top individually plated, dressed green salads.  Serve with French bread for an elegant starter.
veal and pork pate on a toasted bread.

Now that you know how to make pâté, there’s no excuse for buying those over-priced “premium” pâté slices at the specialty food stores. Besides, this is a great way to impress your friends and family with your culinary prowess. Be sure to serve it with some chilled sparkling wine.  Bubbles make everything feel more festive!

Serving country pate with a glass of bubbly.

More pate recipes:

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4.77 from 21 votes

Veal and Pork Country Pâté

A savory country pate with beautiful pops of pistachios and sweet dried plums. Great for the holidays, special parties and gifting.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Keyword ground pork, ground veal, pate, pistachios, prunes
Dietary Restrictions Gluten-Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 20


  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 6 scallions minced
  • ½ cup cognac or armagnac
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • 1 pound bacon


  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 2 quart pate mold or a 9″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf pan with bacon, letting the ends hang over the sides of the pan.  Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the prunes and cognac.  Soak for 10-20 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the veal pork eggs, thyme, rosemary, salt, white pepper, garlic and scallions. Use your clean hands to combine the ingredients evenly.
  • Add the prunes and cognac to the pork mixture and mix with your hands to combine.
  • Fold in the pistachios until evenly distributed in the pate mixture.
  • Transfer the pate mixture to the prepared pan and smooth the top evenly. If there are strips of bacon still hanging over the pan, fold them over the pate.
  • Place the pate mold into a 13 x 9″ pan and place it in the oven. Add 1″ of warm water to the pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Remove the pate from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Unmold the pate and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.
    Place on a platter to serve, or for smaller groups slice one inch pieces of pate and serve with crackers, toasted baguette or crostini.


Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 360mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1.1mg

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  1. Brenda McManus says:

    Prunes or plums? Recipe refers to both.

  2. 5 stars
    What a special dish for the holidays! I’m in love with those cognac soaked prunes. I could eat those by the handful!

  3. 5 stars
    Due to pregnancy, I have had to pass on ALL the pate this holiday season and it’s been tough. Haha. Even when I was a little girl, I loved pate around the holidays. Oddly, I’ve never thought to make it myself. I guess the usual ingredient list, or what I expected to be part of the ingredient list, intimidated me. But this recipe is extremely approachable! I’m pinning and saving it for when I can finally devour this good stuff again 🙂 (I love your addition of pistachios. SO GOOD.)

  4. 5 stars
    I love pate and can eat my weight in it (but really shouldn’t lol)! I never even thought to make my own. You make it look so easy that I think I’ll have to try my hand at attempting a batch for the next holiday gathering.

  5. Marisa Franca says:

    5 stars
    I have eaten pate and enjoyed it but I’ve never made this type. It looks beautiful. I reminds me of a terrine type pate. The flavors combinations are incredible. The sweetness of the prunes and the cognac — WOW! And the presentation is a show stopper.

  6. 5 stars
    Wow, this looks amazing! Like many people I’ve never tried a pate, but I’m loving all the flavor in this dish. It sounds absolutely mouthwatering with the soaked prunes, and really you had me at cashew. LOL This recipe looks like a perfect introduction to the world of pate’s, but complicated enough in flavor to impress the palate of someone who has lots of experience with them.

  7. 5 stars
    Wow Lisa! I haven’t med a pate I didn’t like and this one is no exception! Soaking the prunes in cognac sounds divine in and of itself, and the fact that they’re added to pork and beef, just yummmm! Sure wishing I had grown up next door to you, or lived there now. Great recipe, as always!

  8. Mackenzie says:

    5 stars
    I really wish I had could put super awesome memes and gifs in the comments. I would struggle between choosing one that say “Oh giiiirrrrllll…” and “Daaaayuuummm”. This is so amazing in so many ways. I love all the add-ins (and the bacon!) in this recipe, it really brings to light all the awesome things you can do with pate! I love this!

  9. 5 stars
    Wow. This was a next level appetizer. My family flipped over it. Those prunes in the cognac was a stroke of genius. Plus it helped me use some cognac that just sits on our bar that no one drinks! This was a such a huge hit – thank you!

  10. 5 stars
    You’re so right, those pistachios give the slices such a festive appearance. I LOVE the idea of adding sweet prunes that have been soaked in liquor. Thanks so much for taking an otherwise boring recipe and making it more tasty and beautiful. Winner.

  11. 5 stars
    I’m throwing myself a wine and tapas birthday party this year, and this country pate sounds absolutely divine! And those cognac-soaked prunes are calling my name. I would put them in everything, not only this amazing pate. Yum!

  12. 5 stars
    I have NEVER made pate. After reading this post….I really want to. This would be perfect to take to a holiday party. I know all the guests would drool over this. Time to get into the kitchen. We actually have a party to attend this week.

  13. 5 stars
    I’ve never even considered making pate before, but what a fun idea! This looks seriously gorgeous and perfect for impressing at a holiday party. Thank you for the awesome recipe!!

  14. 5 stars
    Your pate looks amazing and will for sure impress all your guests. I love the addition of the cognac-soaked prunes and pistachios.

  15. Jessica Formicola says:

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried something like this, but I can’t wait to!

    1. Thank you, Lauren! It looks fancy, but it’s really simple.

  16. 5 stars
    I have never had a pate before so this would be interesting to try. It looks so beautiful! That’s my favorite part of cooking something like this — making it look good enough to eat!

    1. I’m glad you like the look of it, but it’s really the flavor that’ll keep you coming back.

  17. Gabrielle Glatt says:

    5 stars
    A beautiful presentation and SO delicious! It is quite easy to make, too!

    1. Thanks so much, Gabrielle – I’m glad you like it. It is very simple to make!