Terrine de Canard or Duck pate is a french traditional recipe for making a gourmet pate. This goes well on your favorite toast or cracker, or with a piece of fresh crusty bread and a glass of wine. Here I like to show you that the ingredients can be essentially offal and low cost. But the product is exquisite and high level gourmet. There is one catch, though, you need to get your hands on a duck or two. For me here in Hong Kong this is easy. I also know in several cities in the mainland, more duck than chicken is consumed. However, perhaps in Western countries you would need to order a whole duck from your specialty poultry shop. But please make the effort, as you will be rewarded by making a very well tasting pate, that you can easily freeze to keep well for several months.
The art of making Terrine de Canard (Duck pate)
As explained, the effort goes best with using two ducks. I usually buy gutted and dressed down ducks. To be clear, the most meat of these ducks you can use for different meals: two ducks provide 4 breasts (duck breast with oriental sauce) and 4 legs (e.g. Duck legs from the oven or Duck confit).
Then all that is left are the heads, necks, feet, the wings and the carcass. I always discard the heads, but my Chinese neighbors remind me that the tongues are delicious too. From the skin of the neck, back and tail end, you can make duck fat.
Then from the feet,neck, wings and carcass, I make a duck broth. For that we submerge these in a large enough pot, adding water, salt and some laurel leaves and simmer for 2 hours. The resulting broth is rich in flavor. Upon cooling overnight in the fridge, you will see some whitish fat on top and a jelly broth. The feet also are a delicacy in China, but I use them for the broth as they are a great supply of duck gelatin.
Now for this terrine, we use the duck meat that comes off the carcass, neck and wings after a 2 hr simmer. That amounts to about 17 oz or 500 g from two ducks. We will also use some 5 oz (150 g) of the duck broth, especially the top part, that is more fatty. All the rest is chicken livers, pork collar meat and some pork (back) fat. Some brandy and port wine or red wine, salt and spices. We refer to the recipe of the pate de campagne for the details of filling and cooking the terrine.
pan to hold water to cook
parchment paper and aluminum foil
Terrine de Canard (Duck pate)
For butchering the ducks and making the broth
- 2 ducks (guts and feathers removed)
- 3/4 gallon water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 oz (150 g) pork (back) fat
- 1 lb (450 g) pork (collar and belly)
- 12 oz (350 g) chicken liver
- 3 oz (85 g) foie gras optional
- 2 oz (55 g) duck fat
- 5 oz (150 g) carrot
- 1/2 brown onion
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 1 oz unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 5-6 oz (170 g) duck broth (top layer)
- 1/4 cup red port wine
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 20 oz (560 g) sliced (smoked) bacon
How to butcher the ducks and making the broth
- Rinse the ducks with cold water inside and out and let hang to dry for 10 minutes
- Cut off and discard the heads
- cut out the wings, the legs and the breasts. Reserve legs and breasts for another dish. They can be processed or frozen. The wings are for the broth
- cut off the necks and remove the skin. Remove the skin from the back and tails. Reserve the skin for rendering duck fat
- Add water, salt and bay leaves to a large pan. Add the necks, wings, feet and carcasses. Bring to a boil and slowly simmer for 2 hours
- With a slotted spoon remove the bones and meat from the broth and scrape off and collect the meat. Be careful not to include small bones. Two ducks should generate 1 pound (450 g) of meat or more.
Preparing the force meat
- Slice the pork meat, the pork fat in small (1/2 inch or smaller) pieces. The size depends on the meat mincer you are using.
- Pan-fry the chicken livers in the vegetable oil at medium heat for several minutes, ensuring they get cooked on all sides. Do not overcook them. It is fine if they bleed still some blood when pressed. Let them cool down
- Cut the onions and smother them at medium and later at low fire for about 15-20 minutes. Let cool down
- peel the garlic and mince, also cut up the carrot in very fine parts
- Then , except for the bacon, mix all the ingredients with a spoon together and let marinate overnight
Making the pate
- The next day mince the mixture, first twice through the course grinder and once through the fine grinder. Then follow the instructions as described in the recipe "Pate de campagne".
Food allergy & intolerance information: none
Remarks in making Terrine de Canard
If you cannot get your hands on a duck, you can substitute by using duck legs and use the skin also for the broth to provide for fat and gelatin.
Or use another bird: a goose or even a chicken. The taste will be slightly different, but still very good
You may also substitute part of the chicken livers by livers from responsibly and ethically fattened ducks and geese (foie gras). This will create an impressive rich taste of the pate.
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