Time for a party! The YaYas are getting together and I’m bringing the hors d’oeuvres. I originally thought I might contribute the vegetable course and make the stuffed pumpkin again, but I really do love to make appetizers so I commited to that instead. When I was catering I had a list a mile long of starters that I would make. I had my “go to” favorites and I still use some of them when entertaining, but I love to seek out new recipes and take a chance on finding a winner. Thanks to Shelley at “At Home in Rome” for organizing the International City Swap because now I have a great new cookbook Called “Chicago Cooks”. I’ll be trying a an appetizer from this book with blue cheese, garlic and red onions slathered on to a baguette and warmed in the oven. If it’s it’s as good as it sounds, I’ll post the recipe once I’ve tried it.
My other starter is something I’ve made once before and I loved it and have been looking for an excuse to try it again. I’ve been devising a French inspired menu to serve with this, but haven’t had the opportunity to have that dinner party yet, so I’m breaking out this recipe on it’s own. It comes from a cookbook by Susan Hermann Loomis called “on Rue Tatin”. I love this book and everything that I’ve tried from it has been delicious. Susan lives in France and this book is a great collection of recipes of French home cooking. This one is for a terrine (named after the dish that it is cooked in) or you might call it a pate (although technically a pate is encased in a crust). I’ll be serving this with a crusty baguette, cornichons and grainy mustard. I just finished baking it and the aromas are wafting around as I sit and write his. I hope I can wait until Friday night to cut into it!
A Homemaker’s Chicken Liver Terrine
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of gristle & coarsely chopped
8 ounces boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2″ pieces
8 ounces ground pork
3 tablespoons, Armagnac, Calvados, or Cognac
2 tablespoons dry sherry or tawny port
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
12 grinds black pepper
4 bay leaves
About 12 sprigs fresh thyme
In a medium nonreactive bowl mix together with your hands chicken liver, ground and chopped pork. Add everything else except bay leaves and thyme leaves and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Lay 2 bay leaves and half the thyme sprigs in the bottom of a 4-cup terrine mold.Place the meat mixture on top of the herbs and press down lightly. Top with remaining bay leaves and thyme. Cover with foil or lid to the terrine. Place in a larger baking pan and fill the pan with boiling water to come half way up the sides of the terrine.Bake until the terrine registers 170 degrees, about 1-1/2 hours.
Remove the mold from the baking pan, uncover and let cool slightly. When the terrine is cooled, but not at room temperature (about 30 minutes), place a piece of parchment and then cardboard (cut to fit inside the terrine) on top of the meat. Place several 1 -pound weights on top of the cardboard (I use heavy cans). When the terrine is at room temperature, refrigerate it, with the weights on it, for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. The flavors have a chance to mellow as it sits a few days.
P.S. This is a very coarse pate and after weighting it down it was still very crumbly when I unmolded it. The flavor was there, but it was hard to serve. The next time I would chop all the meats finer.