- Dish type
- Meat starters
- Duck starters
Duck and foie gras terrine. This special starter is ideal for fancy dinner parties served with some crusty slices of bread or dainty toasts.
Sussex, England, UK
2 people made this
- 1.8kg skinless duck fillets
- 1kg boneless pork neck
- 25ml white wine
- a splash Cognac
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon four-spice blend (see tip)
- 1/2 lobe foie gras, cut into 2.5cm dices
- 1 teaspoon single cream
- pork back fat, cut into strips
MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:3hr ›Extra time:12hr marinating › Ready in:15hr30min
- Roughly cut duck and pork into 2.5cm dices then spread out over a tray.
- Pour the white wine onto the meat, along with a splash of Cognac, and the mix of spices (salt, pepper, four-spice blend). Leave in the fridge to marinate for about 12 hours, or overnight.
- The next day, mince the meat finely and put it back on the tray. Add eggs and double cream. Remove the nerves and veins of the foie gras. Cut the foie gras in 2.5cm dices then add to the minced meat and mix well.
- Line a terrine dish with strips of back fat, ensuring plenty of overhang. Put the meat into the terrine and press down with the back spoon to compact. Wrap the overhanging pork over the top of the meat, to create a parcel.
- Preheat the oven to 150 C / Gas 2.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 3 hours. The terrine is ready when a clean metal skewer inserted into the centre and left for the count of 10 feels very warm – but not hot – when pressed against your lip.
- Remove the terrine carefully from the dish and cover the surface with a new quadruple folded piece for foil. Place a heavy weight down on the terrine. If using a rounded pudding basin, put a snug-fitting saucer on top before weighting. Cool for an hour, then transfer to the fridge and leave for several hours, or overnight.
- Turn out and serve at room temperature in thick slices.
If you need anymore information, do not hesitate to contact me at www.michel-bru.comMichel BRU
This recipe call for a four-spice blend, known in French kitchens as "quatre épices". This blend includes ground pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. To create your own blend, mix 2 tablespoons pepper with 1 tablespoon of the three other ground spices.
See it on my blog
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Foie Gras recipes
Share the joy of Foie Gras, the gourmet cook's best friend, in these tested recipes highlighting the quality of our products.
Choice of duck Foie Gras
How to chose your Foie Gras - for which purpose?
Among the same batch of goose or duck livers, you find various categories used to prepare Foie Gras. The preparation will depend on the quality of the liver.
Before cooking a fresh duck liver in a particular way, for instance half-cooked, canned, or in terrine as paté - you need to recognize it's category. Three main categories are available: «Extra», «1st Choice» or «Tout Venant» - considered common liver.
The LAFITTE staff is trained to distinguish the category of the liver to be packaged raw or processed to prepare Foie Gras. The following rules apply for the processing of each category:
- «Extra » is of superior quality. Without any defect of color or texture the liver is simultaneously flexible and resistant and easy to handle. «Extra» is used for canning, semi-preserved or half-cooked in terrines.
- «1st Choice» is heavier and significantly larger. It should be sliced into thin scallops and cooked in a frying pan over high heat.
- «Tout Venant» or common liver is of variable quality and is used to make liver pâtés, sauces and stuffing.
Foie Gras scallops
Foie Gras scallops
Using vacuum packed fresh Foie Gras, this is the easiest and fastest way to prepare and serve Foie Gras. A liver should be cool but not too cool for easy handling. Remove the liver from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Slice a large lobe into 1 to 1,5cm thin scallops. In an nonadhesive frying pan without fat sear the scallops over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until crips outside and well done inside. Serve on warm plates with seasoning of your choice or covered by a Périgord sauce made with truffels. A sweet white wine like a Sauternes or Montbazillac pair well with Foie Gras.
Canning Foie Gras
The canning of Foie Gras
Count 12g of salt and 2g of pepper per kilo of liver.
Mix the salt and perferably freshly ground pepper and sprinkle the liver on each side with the mixture.
Fill the container leaving a space for it to breath. Close the lid of the jar or can tightly.
Place the jar or can in the sterilizer filled with cold water and bring to boiling point.
Cook for 45 to 60 minutes at 100°C.
Turn the heat off and let the jars or cans cool before storing in the refrigerator.
- Labelling: Labels should be glued on the container with the name of the product and the date of fabrication.
- Conservation: Jar and cans can be kept in a cool, dark, and dry place safely for 2 to 5 years. From time to time turn them over upside down.
- Serving:Before serving your Foie Gras cool it in the refrigerator for 12 hours. The serving should be done at room temperature. Remove the Foie Gras from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. It is easier to empty a can or jar after quickly dipping it in hot water. A can can also be opened on both ends, to push the Foie Gras on one end with a spoon.
Half-cooked Foie Gras
Place the jar in the sterilizer filled with cold water and bring to boiling point.
Cook for 30 minutes at 100°C then store the jar in the refrigerator for proper cooling.
The half-cooked Foie Gras can be kept up to 6 months in the refrigerator.
Wait at least 15 days before consuming your Foie Gras.
Salt-cured duck Foie Gras
Salt-cured duck Foie Gras
For 6 servings
Preparation: 10 minutes. Marinade for 12 hours and cure for 48 hours in the refrigerator.
- 1 vacuum packed deveined duck Foie Gras Extra LAFITTE
- 750g table salt
- 250g powdered sugar
- 1 heaped tablespoon of crushed pepper
- 1 large cotton gauze that can be bought in pharmacies
Soak the liver for 2 hours in cold water.
Rinse and dry the liver.
Wrap tightly with cotton gauze. Mix the sugar and pepper. Sprinkle eavenly over the liver. Place the Foie Gras in a terrine and cover it with the the rest of the mixture. Then add the salt to cover it completely. Store in the refrigerator 12 hours or overnight. Remove the gauze and wipe off the salt. Replace the terrine with uncovered liver for another 48 hours in the refrigerator. This process was probably one of the earliest recipes for preserving Foie Gras.
Foie Gras terrine and dried figs
Duck Foie Gras and dried figs
Makes 6 servings
Preparation: 10 minutes. Cool 12 hours in refrigerator. Cooking: 30 minutes. Leave 24 hours to rest.
- 1 vacuum packed deveined duck Foie Gras Extra LAFITTE
- Cool the Foie Gras for
- 1 glass of Banyuls liqueur
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of cardamom seeds
- 1 to 3 teaspoons of powdered cinnamon
- 1 pinch of powdered cloves
- 100g of dried figs
- Salt and pepper from the grinder
Separate the two liver lobes and place them in a large deep dish. Pour the glass of Banyuls liqueur over the liver, sprinkle with spices, salt and a good amount of pepper. Turn the lobes in the marinade a few times.
Cover the bottom of a terrine with one of the two lobes. Use a terrine that is slightly smaller than the liver.
Slice the figs and spread them evenly over the first lobe. Cover the fig layer with the second lobe. Pour 1 tablespoon of the marinade into the terrine. Stretch a sheet of plastic wrap tautly across the terrine and keep in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
Next day heat the oven to 150°C. Remove the wrap from the terrine. Place the terrine in a large pan filled with water that should be heated to aproximately 70°C in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the stove and let cool in the pan filled with water for 2 hours. Store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. Serve as a spread on baguette or toast.
REMINDER: The terrine can me kept 5 days in the refrigerator. Take out 30 minutes before serving at room temperature on toast or French bread.
Duck Foie Gras with raisins
Duck Foie Gras with raisins
Makes 4 servings
Preparation: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.
- 1 vacuum packed deveined duck Foie Gras Extra LAFITTE
- 1 jar of raisin sauce LAFITTE
- 1 jar of seedless raisins.
- 1 glass of Porto
- 2 tablespoons of Armagnac
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Salt and pepper
The day before stir 2 tablespoons of Armagnac, 1 glass of Porto, 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl and let sit overnight in a cool dry place. The following day pour the content of the bowl into a medium sized casserole and reduce to half over low or medium heat.
Meanwhwile slice 1 cm, or half inch, scallops lengthwise from the liver, sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
Rinse the seedless raisins and simmer them over low heat in a sauté pan in butter, stirring gently.
Cook the liver scallops in a nonadhesive frying pan over high heat. Sear both sides turning them after a minute. Pour the excess fat into a bowl.
Pour the Porto and raisin sauce from the casserole over the liver steaks in the frying pan. Simmer for a couple of seconds, gently stirring the Foie Gras. Add the raisins while stirring, then gently place the liver steaks on a heated plate and serve. It will go well with a Sauternes wine or Montbazillac.
Steamed raisin terrine of Foie Gras
Steamed raisin terrine of Foie Gras
Makes 6 servings
Preparation: 5 minutes. Cooking: 30 minutes.
- 5 tablespoons of sherry or fino
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 to 4 teaspoons of white pepper
- 1 deveined duck Foie Gras Extra LAFITTE
- 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger
- 100g dry raisins
- 1 food steamer
In a bowl cover the raisins with sherry or fino. Let them soak for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile mix salt, pepper and ginger.
Cut the Foie Gras lengthwise in 3 slices.
Cover the bottom of a small terrine with one slice of the liver.
Sprinkle one third of the salt and spice mixture and add a layer of raisins. Repeat this with the rest of the liver slices. Press the liver tight into the terrine and sprinkle with the rest of the salt. Finally pour one tablespoon of the marinated raisins over the liver. Wrap terrine in 3 sheets of aluminum foil so that it is perfectly air tight.
Steam for 30 minutes.
Let the terrine cool then store in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
NOTE: This terrine should be served the next day and can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
SUGESTION: the raisins can be replaced with figs or thinly sliced prunes.
Apple Foie Gras tartlets
Apple Foie Gras tartlets
For 4 servings
Preparation: 25 minutes. Cooking: 20 minutes.
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 vacuum packed deveined duck Foie Gras Extra LAFITTE
- 2 Golden Delicious apples
- 1 roll of ready to use pastry dough
- 2 tablespoons of white sugar
- salt and pepper
- brown or cane sugar
- 4 individual 3 inch wide tart molds
- 2 tablespoons of Calvados
Take the pastry dough out of its wrapping. Pare the apples and cut into thin slices. Heat 2 cubes of butter in a pan, brown the apple slices on each side while sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar, until the sugar caramelizes. Pour the Calvados across the pan and light the alcohol to flame the apples.
Heat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into 4 circles of about 12-13cm or 4 inch in diameter. Stretch the dough circles into the tartlet molds. Use a fork to stick holes in the bottom layer. Cover the inside with baking paper and use dry beans to keep the paper down. Bake for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile cut the liver into half inch slices and sear each side in a fryingpan for a minute. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and lay on absorbent paper. Cut the slices into stripes. Remove the tartlets from the oven. Once you discard the beans with the paper, fill the tartlets with the liver slices. Top them with the caramelized apple slices. Return the tartlet into the oven to bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the tartles from their molds and serve on plates with a green salad, ideally the slightly bitter mache.
Recipe by Madame Danielle MOLETTA Mérignac (33)
Foie Gras Tagliatelle and Morel mushrooms
Foie Gras fresh Tagliatelle and Morel mushrooms
Makes 4 servings. Preparation: 20 minutes. Cooking: 25 minutes.
- 130g chilled half-cooked duck Foie Gras des Landes in can
- 250g fresh tagliatelle
- 1/2 cup of double cream which can be replaced by coconut milk
- 20g dried Morel mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons of veal stock, or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of sherry, madeira or liquorous white wine.
- 2 gratings of nutmeg
- 20g butter
- white pepper
- 2 dozen chives
Buy a package of dried Morels in a specialty store. They should be of the genus Morchella, M. esculenta, for example. If you cannot find Morel mushrooms replace them with your favorite Porcini or Wild Forest mushrooms. Rinse the dried Morels in a strainer in cold running water from the tab. Cover them with 2 cups of warm water in a bowl large enough to be able to double their size. Let them soak for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Gently remove the wet Morels from the bowl to a plate. Drain the water, saving 1 cup of the liquid after removing eventual dregs of the sandy deposits at the bottom of the bowl.
Pour the veal stock or chicken broth into a medium-sized skillet or caserolle over gentle heat. Stirring gently with a wooden spoon add the drained mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil, add the cream, the wine or liquor, salt and pepper, nutmeg and finally the mushrooms. Start tasting. Allow to simmer over gentle heat for 12 minutes stirring frequently.
Remove the chilled Foie Gras from the can. Cut 4 thin rectangular slices and chop the remainder into fine cubes. Save them on a plate covered with foil. Chop the chives while waiting for the water for the tagliatelle to boil.
Cook the tagiatelle in salted boiling water al dente. Once done place them in a salad bowl toss them once with the butter. Remove the skillet from the heat and drop the Foie Gras cubes into the sauce. Stir vigorously with a spatula until the Foie Gras begins to melt.
Pour the sauce over the pasta. Toss gently once again and distribute the tagliatelle on four warm plates. Decorate each serving with one slice of Foie Gras sprinkled with chopped chives. Serve immediately on warm plates. Bon appetit!
Foie Gras on potato and onion pancakes
FOIE GRAS on potato and onion pancakes, also known as Latkes
Makes 4 servings. Preparation: 40 minutes. Cooking time: 25 minutes.
- 250g goose or duck Foie Gras
- 250g firm potatoes of the charlotte kind
- 125g onions
- 12 small girolle mushrooms (chanterelle) in oil
- grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil
- 30g duck fat (graisse de canard) or butter
- 1 teaspoon of acacia honey
- salt and pepper
Finely grate the potatoes. Squeeze the excess water out by wrapping them in kitchen paper or towel pressing firmly with the palms of your hands. Place them in a large bowl, add salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme.
Peel and finely chop the onions. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onions, the honey and the duck fat or butter. Stir until the onions turn transparent.
In a large bowl mix the potatoes and the simmered onion until they form an even batter.
Heat oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add the rest of the duck fat or butter. Spoon portions of the potatoes into the pan, flattening them with a spatula to form small pancakes of about 1/2 inch thick. Fry for 6 minutes each side, until brown. The cakes should be creamy in the inside and crunchy on the outside.
On kitchen paper drain them of their fat and place them on four heated plates.
Slice the Foie Gras into 4 pieces. Top each cake and decorate with the mushrooms. Serve immediately.
Établissement Gremillet - Tel/Fax: +33 1 39 62 04 27
20 rue de l'Union 78600 Maisons-Laffitte, FRANCE
- 1 whole duck breast
- 3 garlic cloves (divided)
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup Madeira or port (divided)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots (finely chopped)
- 2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 duck legs
- 1/2 pound chicken livers
- 3/4 pound pork chop (boned and meat cubed)
- 1 pound bacon (divided)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 teaspoon clove
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 4 slices dense white bread (crusts removed)
- 2/3 cup milk
France is a wonderful country! Known not only for its cultural heritage, its past, its history but also for its gastronomy and local products such as the quintessential and delicious foie gras (pronounce “fuagra”).
Foie gras is one of the most famous dishes of French cuisine.
Where does foie gras come from?
Foie gras is very popular in Alsace and in the Southwest of France, two regions which claim its paternity. The Midi-Pyrenees and the Périgord regions are also two regions that have received the PGI certification (Protected Geographical Indication) since 2000. Duck foie gras from southwestern France also holds the Label Rouge (Red label), a high distinction of quality.
What is foie gras?
French cuisine defines foie gras as duck liver or goose liver, fattened by gavage or force-feeding. France is the largest producer of foie gras in the world, with an average of 20 tons produced each year (about 80% of the world market). It is followed by Hungary and Bulgaria.
What is the origin of foie gras?
Admittedly, France is today the epicenter of foie gras production but this delicacy has very ancient origins dating back to the Egyptians (about 2500 BC).
A fresco of an Egyptian tomb in the necropolis of Saqqarah depicts a slave force-feeding figs to a goose, a testimony to this ancient practice.
It is estimated that the force-feeding (gavage) of geese and ducks is an activity that started in Egypt about 4000 to 5000 years ago.
Anatidae (swans, geese, ducks) are migratory birds that travel very long distances, from the north of Europe to South of Africa. They have the ability to hold a large amount of food in their elastic esophagus and, before taking off, in order to store calories, they force-feed themselves, quite naturally.
Egyptians noticed that these beautiful birds flying over the valley of the Nile in the fall, were particularly chubby. They began to chase them, then to raise them, and to feed them artificially with figs and some cereals.
The Egyptians, then, later, the Greeks and the Romans engaged in the practice of fattening geese and ducks.
During the Middle Ages, duck and geese livers disappeared from the European tables, replaced by other animals such as sheep or pigs from which pies were prepared, but the Jewish slaves continued to keep the tradition of gavage alive transmitted to them by the Romans during the Roman colonization of Judea.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the tradition of foie gras developed in Central Europe under the influence of the Jews.
But why the Jews? Because the mixture of butter (dairy) with meat was forbidden to them. Olive oil was also not easy to find in Central Europe, therefore Jewish people used goose fat to cook.
The technique of force-feeding was established elsewhere where the Jews settled, including Alsace, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, all regions that produce foie gras today.
Towards the end of the fifteenth century, Christopher Columbus brought from America a cereal that was unknown at the time: corn. Gavage immediately experienced a new rise with corn in place of figs. As early as the 16th century, the Alsatian Jews composed foie gras recipes with a dozen spices and herbs such as coriander, nutmeg, and clove. Tradition perpetuated until today as the Alsatians are used to eating foie gras with gingerbread.
Foie gras reached the pinnacle of its celebrity thanks to Louis XVI and to the recipe of pâté by famous chef Jean Pierre Clause, a recipe that just loved. Then, great writers such as George Sand and Alexandre Dumas, and even musicians, such as famous Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini and his famous tournedos Rossini.
Indeed, we owe the recipe of the famous “tournedos Rossini” to the famous composer, whose gluttony was legendary. Did you know that Rossini was a butcher? It is probably in this role that he developed his taste for good food. He created this recipe and asked the chef of “Café Anglais”, one of the greatest Parisian restaurants at the time, to prepare it. So many people loved it that they decided to include this recipe on the restaurant’s menu.
A legend says that the butler of Cafe Anglais was so frightened to make this dish on the spot, that he prepared the dish, not under Rossini’s supervision, but by turning his back. Hence the name… “tournedos” in French means “turn back”… but this is only a legend!
Such beautiful stories throughout the centuries and cultures are those of this exceptional food, that the French law classified it as part of the cultural and gastronomic heritage of France!
How to make a homemade version
A quality foie gras is first and foremost a liver that is carefully deveined by hand and before being cooked, for an extraction of all the veins, big or small. Some chefs advise to soak the foie gras in a large amount of milk or water for an hour before deveining it. The use of a small knife or clamp is obviously necessary.
Foie gras must be taken out of the refrigerator one hour before working on it so it is soft. A foie gras is composed of two lobes and, to remove all the nerves and the veins without forgetting any, it will obviously be necessary to separate the two lobes delicately with the knife in order to flatten everything and be able to work the whole organ. It is a meticulous job and “patience” is key! The end result must be homogeneous and above all, without any stains.
This homemade foie gras recipe is validated by our culinary expert in French cuisine, Chef Simon. You can find Chef Simon on his website Chef Simon – Le Plaisir de Cuisiner.
- 1 entire Grade A or Grade B fresh foie gras, about 500 to 750 grams
- 75 grams salt
- 25 grams sugar
- 12.5 grams pink curing salt (optional)
- 10 grams white or black pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy (such as Cognac)
Let foie gras rest at room temperature for about 45 minutes before starting to clean. Split foie into two separate lobes with your hands. Working one lobe at a time, using a paring knife or small offset spatula and a pair of tweezers, carefully remove all the veins from the center of the liver, following the instructions in this slideshow. Discard veins and repeat with remaining half. Return foie gras to the refrigerator.
Combine salt, sugar, curing salt, and pepper in a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder.
Weigh foie gras, then weigh out exactly 2.5% of the foie gras' weight in spice mixture. For example, for a 500 gram piece of foie gras, you should have 12.5 grams of spice mixture (500 grams x 2.5%). Set aside remaining spice mixture for future use.
Lay a triple layer of plastic wrap, 12 by 18-inches on a cutting board. Remove foie gras from refrigerator and transfer to plastic wrap, exterior membrane-side down. Carefully butterfly with your fingertips, spreading the foie gras out and pushing it into shape with your hands until it forms a rough 9- by 9-inch square of even thickness.
Place half of weighed spice mixture in a fine mesh strainer and sprinkle evenly over top surface of foie gras. Sprinkle with half of cognac. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top and carefully flip. Peel of plastic wrap from what is now the top, and sprinkle with remaining spice mixture and cognac. Flip back over and remove top piece of plastic wrap to expose surface again.
Slide foie with plastic on top of a bamboo sushi rolling mat, adjusting it so the bottom edge of the foie is flush with the bottom of the mat. Fold the trailing plastic wrap underneath. Carefully start rolling foie, using bamboo mat to keep it nice and tight until a complete cylinder is formed. Pull back tightly on bamboo to tighten cylinder.
Lay out a quadruple layer of cheesecloth about 16 inches wide by 2 feet long. Roll foie gras off of plastic onto the cheesecloth a few inches from the bottom edges. Carefully roll foie in cheesecloth, pulling back as you go to keep it very tight and even.
Twist ends of cheesecloth and secure one side with a short piece of twine. Secure other side with a 3-foot piece of twine. Twist twine around end of cheesecloth to tighten the roll, making the torchon shorter and shorter with each twist. Tighten until you see foie fat starting to leak out around the edges of the torchon and it has the consistency of a bike tire. Tie off cheesecloth
Hang torchon from a refrigerator rack for at least 1 day and up to 3.
Bring a large pot of water to 160°F (bubbles should just begin to appear on the bottom of the pan. Prepare a large ice bath. Submerge foie torchon for 2 minutes, then transfer immediately to ice bath. You should see little droplets of fat forming on the surface. Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a triple layer of paper towels and roll to dry carefully.
Repeat the tightening step, using more twine to twist and shorten the ends of the torchon until the entire thing starts to show signs of leaking fat. Hang in refrigerator for at least 1 more night and up to 3.
Slice off ends of torchon through the cheesecloth (eat these ends for yourself), then unwrap the center portion. To serve, slice into disks. For better presentation, use a round pastry cutter to trim oxidized edges off of foie. Sprinkle with coarse salt, and serve with toast, preserves, or dried fruits.
Rinse ducks and pat dry. Remove skin, then remove meat, setting leg meat and bones aside. Cut breast meat into 1/2 inch strips, season with salt and pepper, and place in a bowl with oil, cognac, and 2 sprigs each thyme and parsley. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
For broth, place duck bones, onions, carrots, remaining thyme and parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium, and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain.
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix broth, garlic, and bread crumbs in a small bowl to make a paste. Finely chop reserved leg meat and place in a medium bowl. Chop enough fatback to make 1/3 cup, then add to leg meat with bread paste, veal, pork, egg, nutmeg, juniper berries, pistachios, and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Cut 1 sheet of fatback into 3 small pieces, then use each to individually wrap foie gras. Line a 1 1/2-quart terrine with remaining fatback, allowing a 2 inch overhang. Spoon half the meat mixture into terrine.
Lay half the strips of marinated breast meat on top, then place wrapped foie gras in the center. Top with remaining breast meat, then with remaining meat mixture. Fold over fatback to enclose. Cover, place in a pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the side. Cook in oven until juices run clear, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool. Pour off juices.
Cut a piece of cardboard to fit into terrine. Wrap cardboard in aluminum foil, place in terrine, and weigh down with a few cans. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Remove cardboard lid, run a thin knife under warm water, then slide around edge of terrine. Invert onto a platter. Serve chilled. (Store in refrigerator for up to one week.)
Duck Foie Gras
For the foie gras: Soak 200 grams (approximately 7 ounces) of duck liver in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of sherry and thyme. Mince bacon and onions. Cook bacon in a pan, then add bay leaves and onions. Add duck liver.
Remove skin from duck breast fillets and dice. Combine duck breast and smoked bacon. Remove bay leaves from pan. Combine onion-bacon mixture, smoked bacon, duck breast and orange juice in a blender. Add green pepper and remaining sherry and puree. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat butter in a pan and add flour. Deglaze with cream and stir into a lump. Let cool slightly, then stir in eggs. Stir duck mixture. Pour half the mixture into greased ramekins and top with duck liver. Cover with remaining duck mixture and green peppercorns.
Cover ramekins and place in a hot water bath. Bake in an oven preheated to 175°F (approximately 350°F) for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze: Soak gelatine in cold water. Heat port wine slightly, squeeze out gelatine and dissolve in wine. Drizzle glaze over foie gras and serve with orange slices.
How to Pan Sear Foie Gras | The Food Lab
Perfectly seared foie gras should be crisp and well-browned on the exterior, with a medium-rare center that is just beginning to soften, almost custard-like in texture. Figs are a classic combination, and it's no wonder why. Their jamminess and rich flavor go perfectly with the unctuous qualities of foie gras.
I once might have read in a non-existent survey that may well have been conducted by the top statisticians of our times, that many people think that foie gras is a dish limited to fine dining establishments alone. They're afraid to cook it at home. That stuff is $45 a pound. what if I mess it up?, they may well be thinking.
It's a large enough paranoia that I've taken to advising the nation's foie gras producers to emblazon their packaging with the words "Don't Panic." And you shouldn't, because foie gras is one of the easiest proteins to cook in the world. Far simpler than a steak or a chicken breast. Infinitely more forgiving than a pork chop or a piece of delicate fish. It's nearly foolproof by nature.
My relationship with foie gras did not start off particularly auspiciously. The first time I remember tasting hot seared foie gras was at a newfangled Brazilian fusion restaurant in Boston where a thin slab of it was served with a chocolate and chili-based sauce. I did not like it and immediately constructed a strong prejudice against ordering it in the future. In retrospect this was unfair, as I am not certain that it was the foie gras that tasted terrible, but the preparation.
My second experience with foie gras came a few years later during a hormone-fueled spending and cooking binge in which I decided to serve my potential-future-wife-for-the-moment a piece of foie gras that I'd seared myself. At that stage in my blossoming culinary career, I had no idea that there was a difference between a pâté of foie gras and a slab of fresh foie gras. If you are in the same boat I was in, you have nothing to be ashamed of, and I have hopefully just saved you the trouble of watching $18 worth of pâté de foie gras bubble away in a hot skillet like the Wicked Witch of the West. I am not married to that particular potential-future-wife.
It wasn't until a few years later when I actually started working in a fine dining establishment that I finally understood what the fuss is about. Foie gras is delicious, plain and simple. Decadently rich with a distinct sweetness, it's key feature is that its fat melts at just below body temperature. What goes into your mouth semi-solid ends up slowly melting away, coating your tongue in a wash of flavor.
There's a reason charcuterie is the most common way of preparing foie gras—the fattened livers of the Moulard duck (or goose, depending on your national persuasion in the U.S. it's always duck)—and it's not because it's the tastiest method. It's in fact because it's the best way of preserving a luxury good with a limited shelf life. When cured and formed, a terrine or torchon can last weeks under refrigeration, allowing restaurants, home cooks, and gourmet shops to not worry much about turnover.
But for my money, there's no better way to enjoy foie gras than fresh, sliced into a thick slab, and cooked quickly in a hot skillet to a perfect medium rare. Luckily, it also happens to be one of the simplest foods to cook properly, provided you understand the basics.
or read on for a more detailed discussion!
Shopping and Storage
The most crucial step to a great dish of hot foie gras is to start with good quality foie gras. If you live in the United States, this is fortunately quite simple. There are only three operating foie farms in the country (I've heard recent reports of a mysterious fourth but haven't tried it myself), and all three of them produce excellent products.
My favorite, and the favorite of many chefs I've worked with, comes from La Belle Farms in Ferndale, New York. Of all the foie I've cooked in my life, theirs has the best ability to retain its shape during cooking, despite being fully flavored and richly fatty. Their foie gras can be ordered either as whole 1 1/2- to 2-pound livers or pre-portioned 2-ounce slices from Bella Bella Gourmet.* For pan-searing, you want to order their "A" grade foie gras, which has fewer veins and bruises.
Like bacon and other fatty meat products, foie gras stores remarkably well in the freezer, which means that even if you don't think you'll finish a whole lobe in a single setting, it may be worth your while to order it whole, as the unused portion can always be frozen for your next fancy-pants party. For best results, wrap it tightly in foil, followed by plastic wrap, then throw the whole thing in a zipper-lock bag with the air squeezed out. Alternatively, use a Foodsaver-style vacuum sealer.
If you've ordered foie gras at restaurants, you've probably been shocked by the enormous ticket price and the meager portion you receive. I've always been of the mindset that if you're going to eat foie gras, just eat some f-ing foie gras. Eat a slab of it, at least a couple ounces. Eat something that takes more than one bite. Enjoy it. Enjoy the contrast between the browned crust and the barely softened center. A puny slab of foie gras is almost not worth the effort for me. On the select times of year I choose to eat it, I really want enough to taste what I'm eating. Anyone else with me?
Using a reasonably large portion size is smart for another reason: it's very difficult to cook thin slices of foie gras properly. The fat is so fragile that with a thin piece of foie, you are very likely to overcook it. It comes out looking like a greasy deflated balloon. I use slices that are at least half an inch thick. If you'd like to serve smaller portions, rather than using thinner slices, just cut thick slices and divide them into halves cross-wise to form smaller portions of the same thickness.
The key to slicing and portioning foie is to treat it like a rich mousse-cake: Make sure to heat up your knife under running water in between every slice. A cold knife will catch and stick in the foie, causing it to tear or crumble. A hot knife will melt the fat as it goes through, leaving you with clean, smooth surfaces to sear.
Duck skin is often scored lightly in order to prevent it from shrinking and causing the duck breast to curl up. With foie gras, there is no technical reason to do this as it does not buckle like a duck breast, but the practice continues, mainly for appearances. I score one side—the side I'm going to serve facing up—in a light cross-hatch pattern, just so I get a few bonus extra-fancy points.
Now comes the hard part. And by hard I mean dumb-simple. There are really only two ways to mess up cooking a piece of foie. 1) not get your pan hot enough, or 2) forget about it during the 1 minute it's in the pan. Neither of these scenarios are very likely to happen.
To cook foie, heat up a skillet capable of withstanding high heat—stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, carbon steel, even a newfangled high-heat-safe non-stick skillet will do. Heat it up until it's smoking hot, season the foie liberally with salt and pepper, and carefully lay it in the skillet.
If it doesn't immediately start smoking and rendering fat, your skillet is not hot enough. If this happens, quickly pull the foie out and let your pan preheat some more. Once the foie is in there, it's a rapid-fire process— it takes all of about 30 seconds to a minute per side to get the surface nice and deep brown, so unless you're a busy line cook with a half dozen other orders to fire, the chances of you making mistake #2 and forgetting about it are slim to none.
The final crucial step to cooking foie is to let it rest just long enough that the center softens. About 1 minute on a paper towel-lined plate will do.
What to Serve it With?
Because of its richness, sweetness, and mild funk, foie gras pairs well with a variety of fruity, jammy flavors. Dried fruit and sauces made from them like figs and prunes are a natural and classic pair. Stone fruit—peaches, plums, nectarines, sour cherries, and the like—also work beautifully, particularly when cooked down in a gently perfumed sweet wine like a Sauternes or a sweet Riesling.
Speaking of booze, liquor-based sauces and syrups can also serve to bring out the natural sweetness of the foie gras. Try making a caramel and deglazing it with a bit of cognac or sherry. My basic rules of thumb for pairing flavors with foie gras are to stick with anything that will generally work well with cheese—dried fruits, nuts, honey—or with duck or pork—citrus, sweet-and-sour sauces, etc.
Duck Foie Gras Terrine
Take the foie gras out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before starting.
Separate the large lobes from the small, and carefully remove the nerves. Always work on parchment paper with very clean hands, or use disposable gloves. Be careful not to warm the livers in your hands.
Once all the nerves have been removed from the lobes, spread out on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Chill the pieces as they are prepared.
Combine the salt and pepper in a bowl, and season the foie gras with the mixture. Moisten with the Armagnac and port. Place one lobe on top of the other in a small, cast iron dish, pressing down slightly.
Add any trimmings, and cover the terrine with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 18 hours.
The following day, remove the terrine from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 30. Heat the oven to 212°F (100°C), and remove the plastic wrap. Place the terrine cover on the terrine, and place over a bain marie of boiling water.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the foie gras reaches an internal temperature of 122°F (50°C). Remove the terrine from the bain marie, and set aside for 2 hours at room temperature.
This recipe was originally published in "Culinary Encyclopedia by Alain Ducasse" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits
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Remove the foie gras from refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature for about half an hour. Remove from wrapping and with a small sharp knife, carefully remove and discard large veins or pieces of membrane. Season on all sides with salt and pepper, and lay foie gras smooth side up in a terrine or loaf pan of approximately the same size, preferably one with a lid. Tuck smaller or broken bits in with the larger pieces to form a solid loaf as far as possible, and press down gently. Pour the Sauternes over the foie gras, cover with lid or foil, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the terrine from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Set the terrine in a slightly larger container such as a small roasting pan and surround with boiling water halfway up the sides of the terrine. Bake, covered, for 20-25 minutes and remove from oven. Let sit, still in water bath, for 20 minutes.
Uncover and remove any fat that has floated to surface and save (it may be used for flavoring other dishes). Gently weight the foie gras by laying the lid, if heavy, on top of it. Or cover with plastic wrap and foil and weight with one or two cans. Refrigerate, well covered, for three days. To serve, gently loosen edges with a knife, if necessary, and slice the terrine into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Serve with toasted brioche, croutons or toast.