We learn from the beginning of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) that before reaching Royale-les-Eaux on his way back from a fruitless hunt for Blofeld, James Bond had stopped overnight at an auberge on the south bank of the Loire. There he received a kicking from the ‘French belly-religion’, having been offered a sleazy provender of, among other dishes, an out-of-season poularde à la crème and the fly-walk of the pâté maison, which Bond was obliged to send back.
Traditionally, many restaurants, bistros and charcuteries in France offer pâtés made to the establishments’ own recipes. The pâtés vary in flavour and ingredients, but generally contain some combination of lean meats, such as chicken, veal or game, and fatty pieces, such as belly pork or bacon. Liver is usually included. Here’s my recipe for a coarse pâté. I’ve used ingredients that were available to me at the time of cooking, but any of the meats specified can be substituted for others.
Makes several servings
- 120g belly pork
- 120g chicken breast (skin removed)
- 100g veal liver
- 50g cooked ham
- 2 tbps white wine
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- Bacon rashers
- Salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan-assisted, 350F). Trim any excess fat from the belly pork. Cut the pork, chicken, liver and ham into pieces. Mince the meat in a food processor (or by hand if necessary). Transfer the meat to a mixing bowl and add the wine, garlic and pinches of salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together. Put the mixture into a terrine or other oven dish, lay some bacon rashers over the top and cover the dish with foil or a lid. Place the dish in water-filled pan or bain-marie. The water should extend about halfway up the side of the dish. Put the pan into the oven and cook for 1¼-1½ hours. After cooking, remove the pan from the oven and let the dish cool. Refrigerate until required. Serve with a crusty baguette.