Thursday, October 15, 2015

Just Ducky

I love pate de canard. Or at least I love the idea of it. When we lived in England and several Saturday's a year traversed the Channel to Boulogne, France, we always brought home a treasure from the hypermarket. The treasure was frequently something we had either tasted in a restaurant, or something that was so exotic and intriguing we just had to have it! Once we brought home a sweet little 2 piece ceramic duck which contained duck pate - pate de canard. I remember it as being creamy, mellow, and meltingly delicious on toast squares.

Recently our freezer was overflowing with odds and ends stashed there in frantic moments of food preservation, more desirable than waste by throwing away. In preparation for a trip, I committed to clean out the freezers and either using that which was useable, or discarding that which had succumbed to freezer burn or old age. In recent years as our travels have taken us back to France, I've purchased slivers of various types of pate containing at least a small percentage of duck liver, or other indistinguishable parts of duck. Many of these delicious concoctions included mushrooms or citrus or dried fruits and my freezer gleaning also produced a container of white Oregon truffles. The truffles were discovered and dug by grandson Dillon during an early spring landscape project, but travel prevented us from using them, so they ended up stashed in the back of the freezer in no mans land. Determined to use all my freezer findings in something tasty sent me on a mission, but an hours search through cookbooks and the Internet didn't produce a recipe exactly as I had in mind- so taking the best of several, here is the result.

After thawing overnight, the bony bits and broth of duck left from a dinner a few months back went into a saucepan with bay leaf and thyme, and simmered until the meat slid easily off the little bones.

Next, I sautéed shallots, garlic and herbs in olive oil and butter, and added the chopped liver.
Oregon white truffles, below:


As soon as the liver was gently cooked through about 2 tablespoons of cognac, and 1 tablespoon finely grated white truffle with a good grinding of fresh pepper, a little nutmeg and coarse sea salt were all added to the mixture.  

Meanwhile, I pulled all the meat off the bones of the back and neck and wings and tossed them into my Vita Mix -( LOVE my Vita Mix! I could get a job at Costco selling them) -- along with the heart, gizzard, and whatever indistinguishable little organ thingies I found in the stewing pot.

Next, the warm sautéed liver concoction went into the Vita Mix with the meat, and processed to a fine purée. A little added duck broth smoothed out the consistency, and adjustments were made for final seasoning, I packed the paste into a 4" flan ring and chilled. When set, removed from the mold, iced with a little mayonnaise and decorated, it was ready to serve!


It was just ducky!