Recipe courtesy of Benoit Chevallier

Benoit's Duck Pate

This duck pate recipe comes direct from my French butcher, so don't be surprised if there are a couple of ingredients you are not accustomed to using--particularly the caul fat. I have yet to come across a non-French recipe that calls for this ingredient. I find the best pate is the one you make yourself. You control the quality of meat that goes into it as well as the ratio of meat to fat. It is worth stopping by a proper butcher shop to source the ingredients for this recipe.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 40 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: One 12- to 13-inch terrine
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2 duck breasts

2 duck legs 

10 ounces bacon 

10 ounces ground pork 

1 tablespoon cognac 

2 1/4 teaspoons fine salt 

1 teaspoon white pepper  

2 shallots, finely chopped 

1 egg 

Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Fatback, thinly sliced, or uncured bacon strips, for covering the base of the terrine 

2 bay leaves 

1 large piece caul fat (enough to cover the top of the terrine; see Cook's Note), optional

Serving suggestions: cornichons and crusty bread


Special equipment:
a 32 cm (12- to 13-inch) terrine mold
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove the meat from the duck breasts and legs (you should have about 20 ounces). Place the duck meat, bacon and ground pork in a food processor; process until all the meat is cut into small pieces. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the cognac, salt, pepper, shallots, egg and parsley to the bowl and mix until evenly combined.
  3. Line the bottom of a 12- to 13-inch terrine mold with a layer of fatback. Fill the terrine with the meat mixture, lightly pressing down to ensure there are no air pockets. Place the bay leaves on top and cover with the caul fat if using, tucking the edges into the sides of the terrine.
  4. Place the terrine in a large roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Carefully fill the roasting pan with water until it reaches halfway up the terrine. Bake, uncovered, for 2 hours.
  5. Carefully remove the terrine from the water bath and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Weight down the lid with weights or a foil-wrapped brick and let cool for about 1 hour. Remove the weights and lid and turn the pate out of the terrine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. To serve, cut the pate into slices and serve with cornichons and crusty bread.

Cook’s Note

Caul fat is a thin membrane that surrounds the internal organs in some animals, such as cows, sheep and pigs. It is often used as a casing for sausages or roulades, or as a top layer for pates. It does not have much flavor, so its primary purpose is either to hold something together or to provide some fat/moisture as the food cooks. If you cannot find caul fat, you can make the terrine without it.