Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pâté with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pâté recipes to choose from, and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice. Personally, I was so glad to have choices. I immediately knew I wanted to try a chicken liver pâté (I have a fondness for chicken livers), but I needed to search around a bit for a gluten-free bread recipe. I’ve tried various versions, and while most have been satisfactory, they haven’t been amazing.
I modified the chicken liver pâté recipe to be dairy-free by simply substituting canned coconut milk for the cream and beef tallow for the butter. (The end result was not “coconut-y” in flavor at all.) I also inadvertently left out the shallots – whoops – but they weren’t missed. The resulting pâté was creamy, rich, and satisfying. On a slice from the baguette (or on a delicious gluten-free cracker), it was the perfect snack. (I made it the star of our dinner last night!)
As for the baguette, I have to admit, this is the best recipe to date that I have tried. I found it from Living Without, a magazine for people with food allergies and gluten intolerance. The texture was amazing, with a chewy crust and soft center that wasn’t soggy or gummy at all. The loaf wasn’t heavy or dense (most gluten-free breads are like bricks!). It felt like real bread. My only complaint? It tasted like the bean flour, something I’m not terribly fond of. (Everyone has their own preferred baking flours.) I plan to experiment soon, substituting part or all of the bean flour with another high-protein flour. (If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears!) If you don’t mind the bean flours, I highly recommend this recipe – it’s excellent!
This was a great challenge, and now I have an excellent appetizer recipe available for entertaining in the future!
Chicken Liver Terrine/Pâté
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan
1 tbsp duck fat, or butter (I used beef tallow)
2 onions, coarsely chopped
300g (11 oz) chicken livers, trimmed
3 tbsp brandy, or any other liqueur (optional)
100g (3 1/2 oz, 1/2 cup) smoked bacon, diced
300g (11 oz) boneless pork belly, coarsely ground
200g (7 oz) boneless pork blade (shoulder), coarsely ground (or ground pork see note below)
2 shallots, chopped (I omitted these)
1 tsp quatre-épices (or 1/4tsp each of ground pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger is close enough)
200 ml (7 fl oz, 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) heavy cream (I used coconut milk)
2 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
Salt and pepper
NOTE: If you cannot find ground pork belly or blade, buy it whole, cut it into chunks, and pulse in the food processor. You can also replace the pork blade with regular ground pork.
Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 6).
Melt the fat or butter in a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chicken livers and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until browned but still slightly pink on the inside.
Remove the pan from heat. Pour in the brandy, light a match and carefully ignite the alcohol to flambé. Wait for the flames to go out on their own, carefully tilting the pan to ensure even flavoring. Set aside.
Put the minced pork belly and blade in a food processor, then add the onion-liver mixture and the chopped shallots, and pulse until you obtain a homogenous mixture – make sure not to reduce it to a slurry.
Transfer to a bowl, and gradually stir in the chopped bacon, quatre-épices, cream, eggs, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a terrine or loaf pan, and cover with the terrine lid or with aluminum foil.
Prepare a water bath: place the loaf pan in a larger, deep ovenproof dish (such as a brownie pan or a baking dish). Bring some water to a simmer and carefully pour it in the larger dish. The water should reach approximately halfway up the loaf pan.
Put the water bath and the loaf pan in the oven, and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. The pâté should be cooked through, and you should be able to slice into it with a knife and leave a mark, but it shouldn’t be too dry. Refrigerate, as this pâté needs to be served cold. Unmold onto a serving platter, cut into slices, and serve with bread.
NOTE: This pâté freezes well. Divide it into manageable portions, wrap tightly in plastic film, put in a freezer Ziploc bag, and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge before eating.
Gluten-Free French Baguette recipe can be found here.