Friday, July 24, 2009

You can make foie gras pate humanely and cheaply!

Sometimes when I'm alone I make food no one else likes and I enjoy it tremendously. An example is the foie gras I am savoring on my tongue now.

Foie gras technically refers only to liver from fattened ducks and geese, but you can make delightful seared liver slices and pates from humanely treated pastured animals, too. Just make sure it is from animals that have been slaughtered as soon as pasture grasses dwindle, when the animals are their fattest - in July here in southwestern Oregon.

I've had three goat livers and three kidneys in the freezer for nearly a year because my daughter says liver stinks up the entire house. She's off at grandma's so I can stink up the house if I want!

The proper way to cook liver is to slice it when it is still very cold and put it into a pan that's been heated on high with duck or bacon fat or a high temperature oil like coconut or olive. Add a little butter after you put the liver in, but cook it very fast, just a couple minutes at most on each side, just until it has a crispy edge on both sides and is still pink inside. Enjoy it as is, with a little salt and a platter of fruit or turn it into pate.

Or if you do not want the crust, you can do as I did Wednesday, and put the livers (I added the kidneys, too) into an oven safe pan with some butter, semi-sweet liquor such as brandy or sherry and onions, then cook them at 225 degrees while you do other things. I used apple jack because I'd made it by accident (instead of juice) in a previous year. Since I don't drink, it's what I had. You can also add mushrooms if you wish.

When the liver is seared, remove it from heat and let rest 15-20 minutes to cool and reabsorb its juices. Then place it in a food processor with whipping cream, more sherry or apple jack if desired, a pinch of salt and a little ginger and nutmeg. I don't give exact quantities because livers vary so much in size and availability around here (sometimes I use duck or chicken liver) so I never tried to make an exact recipe. Process it until it is very smooth. Don't worry if it is a little bit runny since it will firm up in the refrigerator. Taste it to see if you want to add white pepper and/or ground mustard. Serve cold for lunch or dinner with crusty bread, apple slices and a good mesclun salad. Pate is delightful also at brunch with a sweet bread like gingerbread, served inside of a flaky pastry, or even in the scooped out seed cavity of apples or pears with some pecans sprinkled on top.

Me? I enjoyed some of mine straight out of the food processor with ripe plums, marionberries and crunchy carrot sticks from my store. The rest I put some in little tupperwares for luxurious lunches later, even after my daughter returns home.

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Blogger said...

Larisa, I am willing to try this! Which is foie gras - the pan-seared liver or the liver that is cooled and food processed? Love your new blog. I subscribed to your posts so I can keep up with your food news and humor.

July 24, 2009 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Larisa from Localvore Fresh Oregon Foods, LLC said...

Foie gras itself means fatty liver. Sounds appetising, huh? I am enjoying fatty liver pate tonight at work. I hated liver as a child, but this is a luxurious, semi-sweet, creamy indulgence... nothing like the rubbery, strong smelling stuff with onions I remember from the 70's.

July 25, 2009 at 1:32 AM  
Blogger charli_horse said...

Hmm, I'm not brave enough to cook it myself, but maybe I'll try it one of these days...

Sharlyn ;)

July 26, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Susanna said...

I've only had foie gras once before and it had gelatin in it. I didn't like the texture, but it was sliceable. Is this a thick pate or pudding like?

July 27, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Kelly the Kitchen Kop said...

I'll have to call my farmer to see what I can get - I want to try this!

July 27, 2009 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Larisa from Localvore Fresh Oregon Foods, LLC said...

I remember getting foie gras pate that had gelatin in it. I think I bought it at Whole Foods and shared it with my daughter, who was totally unenthused! It certainly tasted better than the rubbery over-cooked liver I had when I was a kid, but it was still wiggly and odd. This is more like a pudding texture-wise. If you wanted to firm it up some more you could try substituting some of the cream with coconut oil. Everything I can think of that would thicken it to the point where it would hold a shape(arrowroot, psyllium, gelatin etc) would make the texture unappealing to me. I think if sliceability were important to me I'd just forget making it into a pate and put a slice of liver cooked like I mention above and then put some creamy cheese on my bread or vegetable with the liver. Anyone here have some other ideas to firm it up?

July 27, 2009 at 5:35 PM  

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