Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lamb & apricots páté

I have just found out that today is… Chocolate Day. I haven’t got anything chocolate, but I have something that you may find handy for upcoming bank holidays. I will try to remember next year about the chocolate!

About year ago I made my first baked pate – chichen, orange and caramelised shallots páté. Now I know exactly how to make this kind of páté and I experiment with different types of meat and other ingredients. So far the best one I have made was lamb and apricot páté, made in very similar way as the previous one. It is not a rocket science and the taste is great. What probably more important I know exactly what is in it. Not like with those shop bought… (did you ever read the label?)

I encourage you to make your own, I know it can be time consuming, but the results are worth it. It goes really well with cranberry sauce (please, please, please - do not eat it only at the Christmas table, it so tasty it should be eaten more often), roasted beets & horseradish relish, or caramelised red onion. Next time I will try to make nice jelly topping.

1.8kg lamb shoulder (about 1.1kg when roast and boned)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 small carrots, cut into chunks
5-6 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2-3 allspice
2-3 garlic gloves, unpeeled
few springs of fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme)
few springs of fresh mint
big handful of dried apricots
about 175ml dry white wine
300g pork or chicken livers
about 30g butter
300g pancetta, diced (or smoked bacon lardons)
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
small stale bread roll
50ml brandy
freshly ground black pepper
3 whole eggs
10-12 rashes of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
cup of vegetable or chicken stock (optionally)

Heat the oven to 150 C.

Rub some salt, pepper into a lamb shoulder and fry on each side in olive oil until lightly browned. Place in an ovenproof casserole and add the oil remaining in the frying pan. Add carrots, garlic, mint, thyme, apricots, wine, whole peppercorns, allspice and bay leaf. Cover and roast for about 2.5 hours.

Fry the liver in the half of butter in the pan until browned, then remove from a pan and place in a bowl.

Using the same pan fry pancetta cubes without any extra fat until slightly browned. Remove from the pan and place in the bowl together with liver.

Still using the same pan fry the shallots in the remaining butter over very low heat, until golden, not browned. Add to the bowl with rest of ingredients.
Soak bread roll in some water, remove any excess of liquid and place in the bowl.

When lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, let it cool down, bone and add the meat to the bowl. Discard mint, garlic, allspice, bay leaf, but keep all the juices, thyme, apricots, carrots. Roughly pick some leaves from thyme and discard the tough bits.

Mince all the above ingredients three times using meat mincer, season with salt, pepper, add brandy, egg yolks and mix thoroughly with your hands. If the meat seems a bit dry add some liquid from roasting a lamb, alternatively you can add some extra stock. You should be able to mix this gently with stiff egg whites.

Whisk the egg whites with pinch of salt until they stiff and fold gently into the meat mixture.

Line big loaf tin (or use 3 small disposable tins) with bacon or pancetta slices, so they slightly overhanging the tin, fill it with a meat mixture, level with a spatula and cover with the overhanging bacon.

Cover the tin with a kitchen tin foil, place in bigger dish filled with hot water (about ¾ of the size of the loaf tin). This is called bain-marie, which is a type of preparation used for protecting dishes requiring gentle heat from the fierce heat of the oven.

Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven (180C), uncover and bake for further 10 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from the oven, let it cool down and leave in the fridge overnight before serving.

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