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Pork and Pheasant Pate

Pork and Pheasant Pate

We are pork people, Todd and me. Over the last 6 years, we've had over 300lbs of pork go through our kitchen. Roasted, Fried. Grilled. Sauteed. Poached. Confited. All parts, all ways, from basic pork chops with onions to whole roasted heads.

Every now and then we try a pate - sometimes it works, sometimes we get pork rain. Never though, had it turned out perfectly - until now.

This recipe is a variation of Stephane Reynaud's Huntsman's terrine, from his wonderful forcemeat masterpiece, Terrine. If you're a pork person and you don't know his work, get thee to a decent bookstore. And even if you're trying to make sense of a pheasant, he does a mighty job there too. 

Pork and Pheasant Pate

6 T olive oil
hearts and livers from 2 pheasants and 3 poulet rouge (you could substitute chicken bits for these)
1/4 c white port
1 pheasant, boned with breast meat set aside intact (you may need to butterfly the breast meat so it's not so thick and it fits well into the pan)
1+1/4lbs smoked pork belly, finely chopped
2 small shallots, finely chopped (you need only about 3 T total, so adjust accordingly if you have a large shallot. Additionally, if the shallot is very strong in smell, you might want to reduce the amount a bit so it doesn't overpower the terrine).
Salt & pepper
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (we used local ones recommended at the market to match the pheasant and pork, only because we couldn't get chanterelles this time of year. Any good fresh mushrooms with flavor will do, but stay away from the bland white mushrooms. You need more character than those for this terrine.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  2. In a small sauté pan, heat 3 T of olive oil until very hot (not smoking). 
  3. Add the hearts and livers to the pan and sauté until they are completely cooked, lowering the temperature as needed. 
  4. Remove the hearts and livers from the pan and deglaze with the port,
    scraping off any nibbly bits in the bottom of the pan, and then set
    aside to cool.
  5. Chop the hearts and livers and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the deglazing liquid to the hearts and livers. 
  6. Chop the dark pheasant meat (everything except for the breasts) and add
    to the mixing bowl along with the pork belly and shallots.
  7. Add salt and pepper to the mixture.
  8. Using your hands, mix everything together so it is very well combined. 
  9. Set some water to boil in a kettle or in a pan. You'll use this to cook the terrine.
  10. Heat the remaining olive oil in the sauté pan and sauté the mushrooms
    until they have a light color and are clearly cooked but not slimy.
    Remove from the pan. 
  11. In a terrine pan (or loaf pan), spoon in a layer of the meat mixture, about 1.25" deep. 
  12. Layer some of the mushrooms onto the meat, and then carefully place the
    pheasant breast(s) on top so they form a layer too. Cover with the meat
    mixture and repeat until you run out of filling. You should finish with
    the meat mixture on top. 
  13. Cover the terrine and place into a roasting pan filled half-way with
    boiling water. Note: I used a terrine pan with a weight on top to force
    the meat to compress, and I placed it into a large loaf pan so the sides
    were deep enough to pour boiling water 1/2 way up the side of the
    terrine. Also, I keep the water boiling in the kettle and add it to the
    pan once the terrine is in place.
  14. Cook for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and carefully remove from the water. 

Allow this to sit in its pan for several hours, and then place it in the refrigerator - pan and all - to cool completely. The gelatin will solidify and it will be easier to remove it from the pan later.
Serve cold with bread, mustard, cornichons - all of the usual accompaniments. Pickled figs were especially good with this terrine!

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