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Broken Forcemeat


xcanuck
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Given that pâté is really just a type of meatloaf, I'll try asking my question here.

I tried making pâté for the first time yesterday using the recipe for pâté de campagne in Ruhlman's Charcuterie book. I thought I had followed the instructions religiously, paying special attention to the details for keeping the ingredients and tools as cold as possible. I used an oven thermometer to make sure it was at the right temperature and ensured the water bath was also at the right temperature.

Having done all that, I think I ended up with broken forcemeat. By the time it had reached the appropriate inner temp, it was floating in a pool of liquid fat. After pressing and chilling overnight, the final product spreads like...well...meatloaf. Never having made a pâté de campagne, a) is it normal for so much fat to render out during the cooking process? and :mellow: how well should it spread? (I wonder if bringing it room temp will help).

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Given that pâté is really just a type of meatloaf, I'll try asking my question here.

I tried making pâté for the first time yesterday using the recipe for pâté de campagne in Ruhlman's Charcuterie book. I thought I had followed the instructions religiously, paying special attention to the details for keeping the ingredients and tools as cold as possible. I used an oven thermometer to make sure it was at the right temperature and ensured the water bath was also at the right temperature.

Having done all that, I think I ended up with broken forcemeat. By the time it had reached the appropriate inner temp, it was floating in a pool of liquid fat. After pressing and chilling overnight, the final product spreads like...well...meatloaf. Never having made a pâté de campagne, a) is it normal for so much fat to render out during the cooking process? and :mellow: how well should it spread? (I wonder if bringing it room temp will help).

I think Don will probably put this in a separate thread, but xcanuck, I feel your pain. I've done a number of paté recipes, including the one from Ruhlman that you mention, and have had similar disappointments despite adhering closely to all instructions. So far the only solution I've been able to come up with is keeping the oven and water temperatures even lower than in Ruhlman's book and if necessary extending the cooking time. If you feel comfortable with it, you can also err on the side of rareness as far as the final temperture is concerned. This approach has improved my results somewhat. Also remember to work the farce long enough to make it shiny and smooth in the bowl; that shows that the proteins have begun to bind. As a last resort, you might try increasing the binding agents in the farce, which in most recipes are milk-soaked bread, eggs, or even rice. Of course, too much binder can reduce the textural appeal of the final dish, but even that's better than a sausage swimming in fat.

And yes, paté should really be served at room temp or slightly cooler. Nevertheless, in classical service I don't think it is intended as a spread, but to be eaten with knife and fork, with good bread on the side.

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