What if you could cook your meat in it’s own little oven?! In medieval times, meat was prepared with nuts and dried fruit, protected with a crust and placed directly into the hearth. Eventually, the dough was improved for consumption. And today, Pâté en Croûte is having a revival.
Thanks to McCullough at the Chicago Meat Collective for teaching me how to make this last October. It’s a bit of a labor of love, but I’ve been having so much fun with it! An intricate recipe leaves plenty of room for innovation. I’m eventually going to have to return her specialty hinged terrine pan though…
The specific details are all down below, but this week we’ll walk through an overview of the recipe itself.
Template for Pâté en Croûte
This recipe starts with a poster board, ruler, pencil and scissors. And your hinged terrine pan.
Basically, you need to cut out a template for measuring your dough later. Take apart the pan, line it up, add an inch all around and you’re good.
I started with a half posterboard size (14’x22″) and found it just short. Notice at the top that I had to use some poster board trim and tape it back on for sufficient length. All good.
Making the crust
I used a stand mixer to make the crust. Dry ingredients first, adding wet slowly, until a sticky, shaggy dough was formed. On a clean, floured surface, form it into a rectangle and wrap it up to rest in the fridge.
I would experiment with a soured dough in the future; however, I wanted to stick with the neutral brioche-like dough from my original recipe. Among other modifications, I used a sprouted wheat flour to improve digestibility without the souring process.
The dough needs to rest for at least a couple of hours. I suggest making the template and dough a day in advance and resting overnight.
Prep the panade
A panade is a thickener used to bind ingredients. If you’ve made meatballs from scratch, you’ve probably made one before – in the form or breadcrumbs soaked in milk. In this case, use flour, eggs and cream. Panades increase moisture and flavor in the meat.
Of course, it’s also essential from the perspective of nutrient-density. A good high-fat binder improves absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins we’ll find in our base of pastured ground pork (especially vitamin D) and liver (vitamins A and K).
When you are getting ready to assemble your farce, prep the panade first and reserve in the refrigerator so it is ready on hand.
Making the pâté, or farce
Synonymous with forcemeat, the original meaning of farce – still used in culinary traditions – is meat stuffing. Our farce is seasoned with aromatics, herbs and spices. I threw out my pink salt years ago, so I omitted it as usual.
After mixing in the panade, a clump of farce will stick to the palm of your hand upside-down.
Next, take a spoonful, wrap it in plastic wrap and poach it for a few minutes until it’s firm. Let it cool a bit, remembering it’s still warmer (saltier) than it will be when served. Yep, this step always seems like a hassle. Do it anyway!
That said, sticking with the salt measurement by weight helps. Also, you can’t remove salt, so if you think it needs more – go easy and mix well, you can always add a little more after another taste test.
Once you are satisfied with your farce, carry on!
Make and fill your pie
Here’s where we really start to have some fun.
Use that handy template to cut your dough and fill your buttered terrine pan. Keep everything chilled!
Filling your pie should be even and thoughtful, especially at the corners.
Only bake until 135 F as the farce will rise another 20 degrees after your remove it from the oven. Turns out the dough is a good insulator! Cool sufficiently, remove chimneys, and refrigerate overnight.
Finally, use vents to pour prepared gelatinous broth into your terrine. The aspic should fill gaps on the sides and top of the farce.
An alternate option is to separate the livers, season them, and add them as a aesthetic layer to your pie.
Serving Pâté en Croûte
Pour something sparkling and enjoy the fruits of your labor!