Making pate is fun. Discover the countryside in yourself and make something much more tasty than you can find from any grocery shop (perhaps in France you may find charcuteries that come pretty close!).

The art of making pate de campagne

There are many variations and recipes, even for a pate de campagne. In general, a ‘pate de campagne’ contains fatty pork meat, liver (can be pork liver, beef, veal or livers from poultry) and sometimes some other meat.  This can be poultry, but also a rabbit, wild boar or other edible animal from the countryside. Traditionally, a pate de campagne is made with what is available at the moment.

I have used in this recipe fresh pork liver, pork collar meat, duck meat (including one half breast), duck skin and some fresh vegetables and herbs.

This cooking experience expands over three days: Day 1: Skinning and deboning the duck and cutting up the meats and vegies so it can marinate overnight. Day 2: Mincing the marinated mixture and cooking the pate and placing it cool overnight. Day 3  you can start to enjoy, although an extra day in the refrigerator will boost the taste.

This pate is rich in taste and makes full use of most parts of the duck. I have used a fresh, whole duck, de-boned it and kept part of the (fatty) skin separate. I used the carcass and the other bones to make a delicious duck soup. If you think this dish is fat, please remember that duck fat is actually in the range of olive oil, safflower oil and avocado oil (see section Knowledge). Yes there are calories, but without calories there is nothing to burn for our bodies to keep functioning! Enjoy!


Special equipment

  • meat mincer
  • pate form
  • parchment paper
  • cardboard cover (self made)
  • aluminum foil (optional)
  • large enough pan to hold the pate form
pate de campagne with duck breast photo: ©️Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Pate de Campagne with duck

Prep Time 2 days
Cook Time 1 day
Total Time 3 days
Course Appetizer, starter
Cuisine French
Servings 12 servings (if used as a starter)


  • 14 oz (400g) pork meat from the collar
  • 10.6 oz (300g) pork liver
  • 14 oz (400g) duck meat (legs, back, breast)
  • 7 oz (200g) additional fatty duck skin
  • 1 skinned breast kept for the pate; (the other one (not skinned) can be used for making a separate dish)
  • 1.8 oz (50g) butter
  • 2.7 oz (75g) sliced bacon and more for the terrine covering if so desired can be smoked
  • 4.2 oz (120g) half brown onion, finely sliced or shallots
  • 4.6 oz (130g) roughly cut carrots
  • 3 roughly cut garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of parsley stems
  • 4 twigs of rosemary (may be substituted for dried)
  • 4 twigs of thyme (may be substituted for dried)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1.5 tsp freshly ground mixture of equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and star anise
  • 1 tbsp (0.6 oz or 17g) salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) port wine or madeira
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Cognac, Armagnac, brandy or Shaoxingjiu rice wine from Shaoxing in Zhejiang province in China
  • 1 egg
  • 1.8 oz (50g) breadcrumbs
  • 2 oz (60g) walnuts or pistachio nuts (optional)
  • 5.3 oz (150g) pork fatback may replace the duck skin in the minced meat mixture
  • bacon may replace the duck skin for covering the terrine



  • Debone the duck and reserve the skin. I reserve the duck fat of the legs’ skin also to add to the minced mixture afterwards. Keep all skin to cover the terrine separate from the marinade, unless you want to deliberately add some sliced skin to the mixture
  • Slice and cook the onions or shallots golden in the heated butter (10 min)
    Let cool down
  • Cut all meat in small cubes, except for the duck breasts, keep one as is or cut it once over the length.  If no duck skin is used in the mixture, then substitute by pork fat back.
  • Cut the carrot and garlic in larger pieces, put the parsley stems in rough cuts, add the alcohol, salt and the spices. Add the cooled down onions and mix.
  • Cover tightly with food wrap or use a lid
  • Let the marinade work for one day in the refrigerator, tossing the contents a few times. Also keep the skin that will be used the next day for covering the terrine and refrigerate overnight


  • Reserve the bay leaves and sprigs of rosemary, thyme, the duck breast and the skin. Take out the parsley stems and carrot pieces if you are mincing by hand. Cut these very fine or run these through a kitchen machine
  • Place the meat pieces for 15-20 minutes on a tray in the freezer and then run it all through the meat grinder including the juices if any. Do this three times and run it through the course blade only. The freezing will make it easier to mince the meat pieces, especially when using a hand mincer. Keep the mixture cool at all times
  • Cover a terrine on the inside with the fatty duck skin that was not marinated (skin side down and to the outside) or use some bacon for the same purpose. The fat from the skin will keep the pate moist and also will have a preserving effect
  • Add to the minced meat the (optional) shredded walnuts and the breadcrumbs
    Take the egg and briefly homogenize with the whisk. Mix the egg with the minced mixture as well.
  • Take a sample and spread on a plate, microwave it quickly and let it cool down and taste to check on the spices and saltiness. Bring the minced mixture to taste with some more salt, pepper and other spices if so needed.
  • Then make a final pass through the mincer (the fourth time) to homogenize and emulsify
  • Scoop the minced meat, shredded parsley, onion and carrot mixture in the terrine and at 40 % filling level place the skinned duck breast as a whole in there. Thereafter add more minced mixture and cover with a reserved piece of bacon and some herbs (eg the reserved bay leaves and/or some rosemary or thyme sprigs)
  • Cover the terrine with parchment paper and use aluminum foil as a lid if there is none and place in a large pan or wok that is filled with near boiling water, to a water level of 60% of the terrine. Place this pan on low fire and keep the water close to a boil 194-208 F (90-98 C)
  • After 90 minutes, remove the cover and measure the inside temperature. This should be at least 162 F (72 C) when using pork liver. If not yet reached, continue to ‘cook’ it in the water bath until the inner temperature is right. Molten fat is clearly visible floating on top of the terrine and the smell is already very nice
  • Let the terrine cool down at room temperature. While this is happening, place a tight-fitting piece of cardboard that is covered with aluminum foil on top of the parchment paper sheet. Place weights on it and let cool down for 2 hr
  • Thereafter place in the refrigerator overnight with the cover and weights on. (use canned food as weights)


  • After 20 h in the refrigerator, take the weights, cardboard cover and parchment paper off
  • Then use a spoon to remove carefully the fat at the corners of the terrine. Also the gelly aspic, which has a terrific taste, can be partially removed and served with the pate. Reserve the fat for other purposes
  • Use a paring knife to cut the pate free from the side surface of the terrine form. Then use a sharp cooks knife to cut a thick piece of the pate
  • Serve as an appetizer with some toast or bread or use it on sandwiches


Method: au bain marie
Food allergy & intolerance information: none
Keyword duck

General Remarks

  1. A pate should contain some 20-25% animal fat. If you do not use duck skin, use pork fat back or both. Form the emulsion by mincing it together with the meat. Do this always by keeping the process cold.
  2. If you prefer not to use duck skin at the outside of the pate, use thin sliced bacon instead. Duck fat can be easily rendered from duck skin, see the Food Base Essentials section.
  3. To debone a duck, start to cut off the head and then remove the two legs, then cut out the wings, then cut out the breasts, and then remove the scrapes on the back of the carcass. Debone legs and wings. If there is duck liver, take the sinew out. Remove skin as much as possible in larger pieces (the skin at the neck and back and legs make for nice coverings of the terrine. I use the neck, wings and carcass to make an intensively flavored duck broth. Chinese love duck tongue, so just remember in case you want to throw out the head immediately. Do it a few times and you will get the hang of it.
  4. The terrine when covered with fat, can be kept in the fridge for 7 days. If you plan to use it later, wrap individual slices in plastic cling wrap and freeze in the freezer. The pate may suffer somewhat from freezing, especially in its creamy taste, however when doing the freezing process quickly (ie using individually wrapped slices, placed side by side), more of this will be preserved.
  5. By cooking the pate in a water bath under 100 C, the outside of the pate will not dry out in the process. A metal-based pate form will cook slightly faster than a glass or stone form. You may also cook the pate in a water bath in an oven.

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