Making a Pâté de Foie Gras in Southwest France

March 4, 2016  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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Making a Pâté de Foie Gras in Southwest France

A charcuterie platter in France isn’t complete without a pâté!

At its simplest, a pâté combines ground meat with fat, and it’s traditionally cooked in a terrine — but not always. The process of making a pate sounds quite simple; according to Chef Larry of our Chateau Cooking in Bearn culinary vacation, it’s a matter of mixing all the ingredients together, putting them in the dish (such as a terrine), cooking for two hours, and then allowing it to set in the fridge for a couple days before consuming.

DuckBut as ‘simple’ as that process is, it does take some work; as Chef Larry says, “You need to meticulously clean the duck meat, and there are some 145 nerves and sinews in a duck.”

So what you need most of all when it comes to a delicious pâté? Patience. But the ingredients, of course, help too.

Ingredients vary, and can include pig meat or wild game… or as is common in the Southwest of France, duck. Herbs also add flavor to the pâté as does an alcohol — like Armagnac — or perhaps even wine. Depending on the recipe, don’t be surprised to see other ingredients, like dried cherries, or pistachios included too!

If it’s made in a terrine, it looks like wonderful little meat loaf. But other containers can be used to store it, as Chef Larry did just the other day (pictured to the left) when he made a pâté de foie gras de canard a l’armagnac et orange. When it’s done, take it from the fridge and serve cold, spread across your favorite piece of bread. The melding of flavors is absolutely wonderful, and a delicacy that is a must-try when visiting this region of France for a culinary tour.

Our Cooking in a French Chateau is a foodie heaven, as it includes five hands-on cooking classes focused on French classics — such as foie gras, but also duck confit — visits to the local trout farm as well as the goat farm, and dinners at two 3-star Michelin restaurants. And that’s just some of the highlights. Bearn is musketeer country and it’s valleys, waterfalls, and ravines make a picturesque backdrop while you learn all about the food of France.

By Liz Hall

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By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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