Pâté is French for cold, expensive meat loaf. OK, not really, but that's kind of what it is. It was, and remains, a way to make your leftovers go further. To make something out of nothing. To put lipstick on a pig, or at the very least to stud it with cherries and pistachios.
It sounds daunting, like something only the most seasoned chefs can master, but that isn't necessarily the case. What pâté takes is something many chefs I've known lack (with due apologies to Chef Walsh and the others with whom I've had the honor of working with): patience. A good pâté isn't something that will be done in a matter of hours. It will take a couple of days. It is, however, well worth every second.
New Pi Coralville's Chef Walsh (left) created the recipe and method for this pâté. I was but a vessel for him to present it to the people. We currently have some very good pâté for sale at New Pioneer, and a variation on this recipe may make its way to our shelves next holiday season. In the meantime, we are always here to assist you in your quest for the perfect ratio of meat-to-fat.
For a fantastic charcuterie spread, pair pâté with cheeses like local Maytag Blue or Milton's Prairie Breeze, and local La Quercia Spicy Borsellino Sausage. Nuts, a local mustard like Boetje's or Iowa Country Mustard, and Quince & Apple's (a Wisconsin company) Shallot Confit with Red Wine really make it. It's all at New Pi.
Begin with pork shoulder. A good, fatty shoulder, though not too fatty. Grind with the spices (being certain to keep everything at a low temperature), then fold in your panade (bread, cream, and egg mixture) along with the cherries (which you've remembered to rehydrate with the brandy!), and pistachios.
Place this mixture (which should be just sticky) into a terrine mold lined with plastic wrap. Place the lid on top of the terrine, then wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil. Transfer this into a large casserole dish filled 2/3 of the way with very hot tap water. Pop into a 300°F oven for about an hour. Remove once a meat thermometer reads 150°F. Next, weigh down the top of the mold with about 2 lbs. of weight and refrigerate overnight. By the next evening, you will be ready to serve a luscious, crowd-pleasing, meaty spread worth its weight in gold.
Tony's Cherry & Pistachio Pork Pâté
This pâté is a 2-day preparation.
2.75 lbs. pork butt, 1" dice
1/2 c. yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 T. garlic, finely minced
4 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 t. allspice
1 sprig rosemary, minced
2 1/2 T. kosher salt
1 1/2 t. black pepper
2 T. all-purpose flour (a gluten-free flour can be substituted)
2 whole eggs
1 oz. brandy
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/3 c. pistachios
disposable gloves (optional)
First, place your meat grinder and blades in the freezer, then preheat the oven to 300°F. Rehydrate the cherries with an extra splash of warm brandy. Heat several cups of water in a small saucepot to a bare simmer. Line a terrine mold with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of overhang to completely cover the pâté.
Put some music on.
If you like, now would be a good time to put on some disposable gloves. Mix the pork, onion, garlic, parsley, allspice, rosemary, salt, and pepper together and grind through your meat grinder's large die. Fold gently. Take a small spoonful of the mixture and poach it in your simmering water. Taste for salt, remembering that the pâté will be served cold (which reduces how salty it tastes) and should be well seasoned.
Mix the flour, eggs, brandy, and cream and incorporate into the pâté, stirring just until the mixture begins to feel sticky. Add the cherries and pistachios.
Next, fill the terrine mold with the mixture completely, trying to avoid leaving any air pockets. Fold the remaining plastic over the pâté.
Wrap the entire terrine in aluminum foil.
Place the terrine in a large casserole dish and fill it 2/3 of the way up with very hot tap water. Place in the oven and check the temperature with a probe thermometer after 1 hour. When the center of the pâté reaches 150°F, remove it from the oven. Cool with two 1 lb. weights on top (a few cans of Muir Glen diced tomatoes work well!) overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, allow the pâté to warm slightly, then pluck it from the terrine mold using the plastic wrap, a dull knife, and your own resourcefulness. Enjoy with Dijon mustard, crusty baguette, pickled vegetables, and admiring comrades.