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Pork and Liver Pâté (Terrine de campagne)

by Elizabeth David from At Elizabeth David’s Table

A terrine de campagne, or pork and liver pate from Elizabeth David. This rich and indulgent dish would be ideal for a starter, served on toast or French bread.


This is the sort of pâté you get in French restaurants under the alternative names of pâté maison or terrine du chef. Serve this pâté as a first course, with toast or French bread. Some people like butter as well, although it is quite rich enough without. An obliging butcher will usually mince for you the pork, veal and liver, provided he is given due notice. It saves a great deal of time, and I always believe in making my dealers work for me if they will.

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500g / 1lb pork belly, minced
500g / 1lb lean veal, minced
250g / ½lb pig’s liver, minced
125g / 4oz streaky bacon or pork back fat
1 clove of garlic, crushed
6 black peppercorns, crushed
6 juniper berries, crushed
1–2 tsp salt
½ tsp ground mace
3–4 tbsp dry white wine
2 tbsp brandy

Essential kit

You will need a 1.25-litre/2-pint capacity terrine, or into 2 or 3 smaller ones, about 5–6cm/2½ inches deep.


To the minced meats, all thoroughly blended, add 60g/2oz of the streaky bacon or pork fat cut in thin, irregular little dice, the garlic and seasonings, and the wine and brandy. Mix very thoroughly and, if there is time, leave to stand for an hour or two before cooking, so that the flavours penetrate the meat. Turn into one large 1.25-litre/2-pint capacity terrine, or into 2 or 3 smaller ones, about 5–6cm/2½ inches deep. Cut the remaining fat or bacon into thin strips and arrange it across the top of the pâté. Place the terrines in a baking tin filled with water and cook, uncovered, in a slow oven, 160°C/gas 3, for 1¼ to 1¼ hours. The pâtés are cooked when they begin to come away from the sides of the dish.

Take them from the oven, being careful not to spill any of the fat, and leave them to cool. They will cut better if, when the fat has all but set, they are weighted. To do this, cover with greaseproof paper and a board or plate which fits inside the terrine and put a weight on top. However, if this proves impractical, it is not of very great importance. If the terrines are to be kept longer than a week, cover them completely, once they are cold, with a sealing layer of just-melted pure pork lard.

When cooking any pâté remember that it is the depth of the terrine rather than its surface area which determines the cooking time. The seasonings of garlic and juniper berries are optional.

The proportions of meat, liver and seasonings making up a pâté can be altered to suit individual tastes, but always with due regard to the finished texture of the product. A good pâté is moist and fat without being greasy, and it should be faintly pink inside, not grey or brown. A dry pâté is either the result of overcooking, or of too small a proportion of fat meat having been used.

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