What Is Pate?

Are you looking for a dish that has a smooth texture and rich flavor? Then, it is time to cook pate! Pates are made from any meat type – throw in your leftover chicken, duck, or pork, you name it. The seasoning and other ingredients depend on your imagination (or a recipe).

If your taste preference is unique or you are a picky eater (or rather, a gourmand), pates are quite versatile and can be seasoned to suit different tastes – even yours!

Have you heard of a delicacy served on the grandest occasion and at dinner parties? If not, scroll down to learn more. We’ve included a few popular recipes that are a must-try in any household.

What Is Pate?

Traditional delicious meat pate

Let’s start with the pronunciation of the word ‘pate’ – it is pronounced pah-TAY, and the proper spelling is ‘pâté.’ Popular in French cuisine, pate is served on a fresh baguette, pastry, or spread on a sandwich. The French pate (pâté) literally means the ‘paste,’ and is commonly made from meat and its fat. The types of meat pates can be pork, wild game, or veal. Over the past years, pate has been transformed from just a loaf of meat to a loaf of meat with vegetables, spices, and various herbs to enhance its taste.

In French cuisine, pate is traditionally served baked in a crust.

How Is Pate Made?

country pate

Typical pates are made from any kind of meat (pork loin, pork liver, goose liver, etc.) that is finely chopped or ground. To give it a more aromatic flavor, different types of pate have various ingredients, such as bread crumbs, flour, garlic, or wine. Ground meat has a spreadable texture, therefore, it is often served either as a meal (e.g., Pâté de Foie Gras) or a snack (e.g., Pâté de Campagne).

Once the ground chicken or pig meat is seasoned, it is placed in a baking mold and cooked in a water bath. Oftentimes, you can find recipes with savory jello or aspic added on top of a pate.

When it comes to the texture of pate, it is usually spreadable, but it is not uncommon to find other types of pate that are chunky or coarse.

We encourage you to try both styles of cooking (chopped pieces of meat and a smooth texture of ground meat) to find which one suits your taste preference. After all, pates are quite easy to prepare. Here are two most common recipes:

Tasty Recipes

Pâté en Croûte

Pâté en Croûte

There are many variations of this dish – with poultry, veal, pork, or a meat mixture – but whichever Pâté en Croûte version you choose to make, it will undoubtedly be delicious.

In essence, it is meatloaf in a pastry. Traditionally, the filling consists of any type of meat, but now you may as well add mushrooms, nuts, herbs, and other ingredients.

An interesting fact is that pâté en croûte was initially created to extend the loafmeat’s shelf life, and the crust was never eaten until much later.

The process of cooking this pie in a crusty pastry isn’t one for novice cooks due to the number of steps involved. However, at the same time, these steps aren’t the most difficult out there.

An important note to keep in mind for all chefs is that the meat pie is never served hot – on the contrary, cold or at room temperature.

Pâté de Campagne

Pâté de campagne

Traditional pate used any meat for this recipe, but the best choice would be pork or veal. Pâté de Campagne could be one of the easiest terrines in French cuisine, and it is best cooked two days before serving. Over those two days, your dish will have enough time to mature, enhancing its already rich flavor.

This terrine is ideal for any dinner party you are hosting soon and don’t know how to impress your guests. Actually, pate suits any grandest occasion, regardless. The dish looks so difficult and time-consuming to make when, in fact, you only spend less than half an hour on its preparation. But nobody needs to know that, right?

To make this appetizer, you’ll need pork liver, boned pork belly, and bone pork shoulder. The chopped liver and cubes of meat need to be ground in a food processor until the mixture gains a spreadable texture.

Once you place the ground meat into a bowl, it is time to season it up. We recommend adding some alcohol to give it an aromatic and tingling flavor – wine and cognac. Mix in some chopped nuts, parsley, and thyme, and add one egg, and spices of your preference.

Pâté de Campagne has a brick-like shape, so you need a baking mold of the same shape. After approximately one hour in the oven, your wish is ready to serve. Although as we mentioned earlier, if you truly want to show off your cooking skills, let the dish stay in your fridge for at least a day.

Final Word

French pate is one of the easiest terrines you can cook in about one hour, where it only takes you 20 minutes of preparation.

Overall, French cuisine always offers delicious and flavorful dishes, including pate. Most pâtés are made from finely minced or pureed liver and often are combined with other ingredients to take its flavor to another level. You can experiment with adding wine, cognac, butter, various spices, and freshly chopped vegetables and herbs.

Serve it as an appetizer or as a spread on sandwiches or crackers.

At Kitchen Community, we recommend only exquisite dishes to surprise you and your guests. Try out our other recipes, too!

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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