Thursday, September 15, 2011

Charcutepalooza - Packing (no I am not going anywhere)


This is September Charcutepalooza challenge. This month it was all about "Packing". I trembled at the thought of having to make a pastry dough. I can not tell you how just hearing the word "dough" sends me into fits.

We chose to make a Pate en Croute from a recipe I saw on Canadian Living. It called for duck and pork. How can you go wrong? Throw in chicken livers and pork belly and well....need I say more?


So, I put on the "Big Girl Panties" and dug in to the task of making dough. I have to say that I started to really get into it. It wasn't too bad.


Did I ever tell you how much I love chicken livers? Oh, I did? Hmmm.


I can't tell you how amazing and lucky I feel to have Pork from Neal Foley. I feel privileged to have meat in our freezer that was raised lovingly by friends.


So, grinding up pork belly is my middle name. "No it isn't Janis. Your middle name is Diane. Not only that but you are talking to yourself out loud"


Dough! I made pretty pretty dough. Doh.


Heh, this next picture ALMOST makes up for my rambling. No? Ok, well I swear that if you came over and hung out with me that it would make a lot more sense this rambling of mine. I swear. Dr. Food only gives me dirty looks once in a while. What? What is that you said? He is NOT a saint.


And just for you I made Pig cutouts. They sorta look like Aardvarks but they are pigs.


This doesn't look the prettiest but boy did it taste good. I almost (I said almost) cried.


Goober climbed Mount Pate en Croute!


So the collection of charcuterie is growning. As if we didn't have enough I decided to go for another Pate en Croute that I saw in Garde Manger. It is a textbook from the Culinary Institute of America. Amazing book. I decided I had to make the Salmon en Croute.


We needed Crayfish and we found them at H Mart.


It isn't all glamour around Chez Janis ya know. I had to shell those little crawdaddys.


The dough was a Saffron dough.


Me with the dough again. Argh.

We made a mousseline-style forcemeat by processing the salmon and shrimp and folding in the crayfish, chives, and basil.


My friends Monty and Peter had given me (well they gave it to Dr. Food for his birthday but what is his is mine too. Sorta.) a Le Creuset terrine. It is an old old one. We packed that puppy up. We layered the mousseline with strips of salmon and then another layer of mousseline.


We encased it in dough and put the little chimney's in there.


We baked for prescribed amount of time and then took out to cool. I could have not shown you what this looked like when it came out but then you wouldn't be impressed when you saw what it looked like by the time it cooled all the way down.


Voila! No joke. When it cooled it shrunk and looked perfect. Now was the time to put the aspic in. I don't have pictures of this because both of us were needed to actually do this procedure. The aspic was made out of toasting the shrimp shells and using some clam juice. We also added wine to it. We then added gelatin. After it was piped in and cooled overnight we had a pretty fancy pants looking Pate en Croute.


Came out of the terrine unscathed (well, I won't show you the side that got a little bit wonky).


Look how clear our aspic is? Almost looks like it isn't there. We floated a raft on the aspic to clarify it. Aspic must be very clear and clean.


There you have it! Packing. This was sent to Dr. Foods work for all to enjoy. Don't YOU wish you worked with Dr. Food?

Pate en Croute (Duck Breast and Pork)


2 boneless skinless duck breasts, (each about 8 oz/250 g)
1 boneless pork loin centre chop, (about 6 oz/175 g)
3 tbsp (45 mL) brandy
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme
3/4 tsp (4 mL) pepper
1 pinch ground allspice
2 tbsp (25 mL) unsalted butter
1 onion, finely diced

4 oz (113 g) duck or pork or chicken livers, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
1/4 cup (50 mL) dry white wine
1-1/2 lb (680 g) pork belly
2 eggs
1/4 cup (50 mL) whipping cream
1 egg yolk
2 tsp (10 mL) water
2-2/3 cups (650 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2/3 cup (150 mL) cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 mL) sour cream
1/4 cup (50 mL) cold water

Pastry: In large bowl, whisk flour with salt. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until in fine crumbs. Whisk together egg yolks, sour cream and cold water; drizzle over flour mixture, tossing with fork and pressing with hands to form ragged dough. Divide in half; press into squares. Wrap each and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Thinly slice 1 of the duck breasts across the grain; place in bowl. Slice pork thinly across the grain; add to duck. Stir in brandy, 2 tsp (10 mL) of the thyme, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) of the pepper and allspice; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or for up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook onion until softened, about 6 minutes. Add liver, bay leaves, salt, nutmeg, and remaining thyme and pepper; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in wine; cook until no liquid remains, about 2 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; let cool completely. Discard bay leaves.

Cut pork belly and remaining duck breast into chunks; transfer to food processor and purée until smooth. Add to onion mixture. Stir in eggs and whipping cream until combined, using hands if necessary.

On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 of the pastry squares to scant 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness; cut into 14- x 5-inch (35 x 12 cm) rectangle. Place on parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Spread with half of the pâté mixture, leaving 1-inch (2.5 cm) border. Lay strips of marinated duck and pork lengthwise over pâté; spread with remaining pâté. Turn pastry border up sides. Whisk egg yolk with water; brush some of the egg wash over pastry.

Roll out remaining pastry to 14- x 8-inch (35 x 20 cm) rectangle. Place over pâté, pressing to seal. Trim any excess.

From pastry trimmings, cut out decorations for top. Using egg wash, stick onto pastry top. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut 2 circles in top. Insert rolled-up parchment paper “chimneys” into holes for steam vents. Brush with egg wash. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (180°C); bake, covering with foil if necessary to prevent browning and removing any fat that seeps onto pan with turkey baster or shallow spoon, until digital instant-read thermometer inserted into centre reads 170°F (77°C), about 50 minutes.

Using 2 spatulas, transfer to clean parchment paper–lined baking sheet; let cool. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature to serve.)
Additional Information:

Tip: Keep pâté refrigerated while rolling the pastry to prevent the mixture from becoming too soft.


  1. Oh Janis :-) I love how your voice shines through in every fascinating, hunger-inducing, giggle-producing post that you write. The salmon en croute looks beyond delicious, and I hope uncle Food's colleagues know how lucky they are! Also: I want that Garde Manger book. You're fabulous!

  2. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite.comSeptember 15, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    Your pastry is amazing! I wish mine were half as pretty. Fabulous job, yet again!

  3. Hehehe we both used the phrase "fancy pants" to describe what we made. Great minds ;)

  4. You always do an amazing job with these!! :-) I'm still working on mine for later today!

  5. um, no... I don't wish I worked w/ Dr Food, I wish I lived in your house! zOMG, I thought you had me at the first pâté en croûte but the you typed salmon pâté en croûte and now I won't be able to think about anything else for the rest of the day. (salmon & lamb are my favorite proteins) Even Brian's ready to get in the car and head North!!! (he was reading your post over my shoulder)

    I thought you were going to be in CA this week? I must have read it wrong, glad you're posting lovely food from your kitchen. My kitchen's still barely functional and half of it's still packed up.

  6. Killer photos. And it's so damn pretty. Pack on.

  7. What a great post! Everything looks so delicious. I do wish that I worked with Dr. Food to get to try all of the yummies he brings in. Envious! I'll have to check out those cookbooks.

  8. I love your shining voice too, but I'll have to be honest and say that I read this post for giggles, not because it induced any hunger in me. Liver, pate-textured meats, and a word that sounds like a** pick. None of those things have appeal to me. You and Goober, however, the two of you make me smile.

    I was also blown away by how that Pate en Croute looked like you'd ruined the crust but then cooled to perfection. Very, very cool.

  9. I do very much wish I worked with Dr. Food. I don't think I've ever tasted anything with aspic. The pastry would have me at hello. 

  10. Spectacular, Janet. This challenge was a failure for me - but I love your salmon en croute. I'd make that!

  11. I LOVED this post! I was fascinated! I loved the duck/pork combo, but the salmon one took the cake for me! How did it shrink back down so perfectly? so freakin' cool! Loved the aspic in there. Just amazing...and adorable as usual. Hey, at least you're not "packing" a 45 and then it would be Janis Croft: Meat Raider. hugs.

  12. Oh wow this looks amazing!!! I love it! GREAT flavor combos you have here. That saffron dough looks heavenly 

  13. Nice job, Janis. I covet your terrine mold.

  14. Cor! Want both of them, now very jealous of Dr Food.