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VENISON LIVER COUNTRY PATE

Updated: May 10

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This delicious and easy venison liver pate is the ultimate charcuterie preparation for the beginner cook and the seasoned chef.

Venison Liver Pate Recipe
Venison Liver Country Pate En Croute & Raised Pie


A lot of people are either intimidated or put off by wild game charcuterie, simply for the fact that it's somewhat hard to pronounce. And that because a lot of the time "hard to pronounce words" in the food world can sometimes directly translate to fancy and fussy. Contrary to popular belief, the rustic craft of charcuterie has been around since around the 15th century. It was a way to use every last bit of an animal in a humble way.




In this recipe, we're going to be making a classic pate terrine that is great for beginners. And don't let the word "terrine" throw you off. Technically speaking, most venison meatloafs are a form of terrine.

And this terrine is essentially just a big loaf of sausage. So if you are pretty decent at making venison sausage, you shouldn't have any trouble making this terrine.


I use venison in this recipe in place of pork, which is most commonly used. While there isnt any pork meat in this recipe, you do need to add pork fat to the venison grind, or it will be dry, grainy and unpalatable.


There's also a little deer liver worked into the mixture. It's not an overwhelming amount, just a tiny amount to give some depth of flavor. If you choose to leave the liver out, simply replace it with venison. And if you can't get your hands on any venison liver, domestic pork liver or calfs liver works well here.


 

THE BASICS FOR HOW TO MAKE VENISON PATE


Cooking Equipment Used


There are a number of cooking vessels that you can use to cook your terrines in. You can use anything from Pyrex loaf pans, your grandma's old non-stick meatloaf pans, or actual cast iron terrine moulds.


Most terrine pans are usually made of enameled cast-iron, stoneware, stainless steel or even non-stick coated pans. The shapes of the vessels can vary as well, but that is mainly for the visual aspect. The main thing that you need to worry about is that it is sturdy and not oversized.



What is a Forcemeat?


The foundation of all wild game terrines will always be whats called a "forcemeat" or "farce", which basically means pureed or ground meat.


A forcemeat is a meat and fat emulsion that is established when the ingredients are processed together by grinding, pureeing or sieving. It should not just be a mixture, but a true emulsion so that when it is sliced, it will hold its shape and not fall apart on you.


There are four different styles of forcemeats that you sometimes see me refer to on this website: Straight, Country, Gratin and Mousseline. In this recipe we will be using the country style method.



Secondary Binders


The proteins in meat are the first level of structure and bind for forcemeats. There are cases where you need to add a secondary binder to help things setup a little better. These are usually made up of either eggs, nonfat milk powder and panadas. Panadas are made from either cooked potatoes or rice, bread soaked in milk or a paste made up of some combination of flour, water, cream, butter and eggs. You essentially do this when making a venison meatloaf as well.



Seasoning a Pate


As with all cooking, salt plays a major role when making straight forcemeat terrines. Salt draws out the proteins in the meat, which help you achieve the primary bind and adds another depth of flavor.


Seasoning and marinating do exactly what you'd expect, they both enhance the flavor as well. This can come in the form of grain based spirits, herbs, vegetables, and wine. Just keep in mind that you will more than likely be serving the terrine cold and cold food needs a little more salt than hot food.



Chill Your Ingredients and Equipment


Having your ingredients and equipment very cold is paramount when making a venison forcemeat. Having your grinder equipment cold plays a few major roles.


It reduces the chance of a food-borne illness, insures that the fat won't melt and destroy your forcemeat, it also provides a better flavor to the finished product. So chill your grinder attachments in the freezer for about an hour to be on the safe-side. You'll also want to chill any bowls that you may be using throughout the process.



Grinding the Meat

The number one piece of kitchen equipment for a country style terrine is a meat grinder. And you don't need anything fancy for small batch grinding like with this recipe. For this terrine we will be using a 1/8 inch or 3 millimeter plate attachment.



Mixing the Ground Venison

Once ground, it's time to process the meat with any other ingredients that you are using. Processing helps develop the myosin and gives the meat a slightly tacky texture, which in turn gives the meat a better bind. You will be using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment here.



Test your forcemeat

It's always a good idea to test your forcemeat before cooking the final product. You can do this by taking about a heaping tablespoon of the mixture, wrapping it in plastic wrap and poaching it in water that's around 170 degrees F. This won't give you the exact flavor and texture of your final terrine, but it will be pretty close. You can also cook a small bit in a pan as well.


If your forcemeat tastes just right while it's hot, add in a touch more salt. You should also add in any other seasonings that you think it needs, because once it goes into the oven, its too late!



Adding Garnishes to your Pate

Once you have the seasoning to your liking, now is the time to add in any garnishes that you may want. This could be dried fruits, toasted nuts, herbs or use it as a way to sneak in odd bits such as a braised venison tongue cut into a small dice. Simply add a few tablespoons to the mixture and fold in to combine.



Here is an example of the garnishes in a deer and wild boar pate


Looking for other venison recipes? These are a few of my favorites for wild game charcuterie:


Lastly, if you make this venison pate recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram! I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.


 

VENISON LIVER PATE


Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cooking Time: Around 1 Hour
Resting Time: 8 to 12 hours
Servings: 12 Appetizer Servings
Author: Larry White


INGREDIENTS 


  • 22 1/2 ounces - boneless venison (sinew and fat removed)

  • 9 1/2 ounces - pork fat, diced

  • 4 ounces venison liver, cut into 1 inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup - chopped onion

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons - garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon - homemade venison blend (optional: see the ingredients at the bottom of the page)

  • 1 teaspoon - ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons - kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons - all purpose flour

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup - heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons - brandy or bourbon

  • 1/2 cup - smoked ham, diced (optional)

  • 1/2 cup - roasted nuts (optional)



DIRECTIONS


Make the Pate Mixture


  1. Grind the venison and the pork fatback into the bowl of an electric stand mixer that is sitting in an ice bath.

  2. Scoop out 1/3 of the ground venison mixture and place it in a separate bowl. Add the livers, garlic, onion, optional spice mix, salt and pepper. Grind this into the same both as the venison and pork fat grind from step 3. Place in the refrigerator until its thoroughly chilled (30 minutes to an hour).

  3. In a clean bowl, add the flour, heavy cream, eggs and brandy. Whisk until it is thoroughly blended with no lumps. Pour this into the mixing bowl with the ground venison mixture that's in your refrigerator. Now is the time to add the optional diced ham and toasted nut garnishes if you are using them.

  4. Attach your mixing bowl to your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture is sticky. This will take around 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

  5. Now is a good time to check for seasoning. You can fry a small piece in a pan or poach in water. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Keep in mind that this will be served cold or at room temperature. And cold food needs more salt.


Assemble


  1. Prep your terrine vessel by lining it with plastic wrap. Line a 1 1/2 quart terrine mold or baking dish with plastic wrap. Make sure to have around 4 inches of plastic wrap overhanging to ensure you can full enclose the top of the terrine.

  2. Fill the terrine mold with your forcemeat. Use a rubber spatula to work the mixture into the crevices of the vessel tightly. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the forcemeat so that it is completely covered. Tap the vessel onto the counter-top a few times to get rid of any air pockets. Cover the terrine with either aluminum foil or a lid if one came with your vessel.


Cook the Pate

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

  2. Make a water bath. In order to keep the fat in the pate from separating, it should be cooked gently. Place your terrine vessel into a high-sided roasting pan and pour in enough hot tap water so that it covers around 3/4 of the terrine vessel. Place it into your preheated oven. Alternatively, you can place the roasting pan and terrine vessel in your oven first and then add the hot tap water. This will minimize the chance of you spilling the water.

  3. Cook to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. To be safe, check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.


Chill and Rest

  1. Chill, Press and Refrigerate. Remove the venison terrine from the water-bath and let it cool to room temperature. The terrine should now be pressed to ensure that it has the proper density. Simply cut a thick piece of cardboard, wood or plastic to the inside dimensions of the vessel and wrap it in foil. Now set something that weighs 1 to 2 pounds on top of the terrine to press it down. A brick turned on its side or canned food work perfectly.

  2. Refrigerate the terrine overnight or at least 8 hours before serving. This allows the flavors to mature and makes for easier slicing.


Time to Serve

  1. Unwrap your terrine and cut into slices that are anywhere from a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Use sharp non-serrated knife or meat slicing knife.

  2. This venison pate is best served with crusty bread, crackers, assorted mustard's, cheeses, pickles, chutneys and vinaigrette's.

  3. Leftover Storage: Wrap any leftovers tightly with plastic wrap. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also store it in the freezer for up to one month. It's best to freeze thicker pieces of the pate in order to retain its qualities.

 

Optional Venison Spice Blend


  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon mace

  • 1 tablespoon - ground nutmeg

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

  • 1 tablespoon ground bay leaf powder

  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram

  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme

  • 3 tablespoons ground mustard

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons juniper berries


  1. Toast the fennel seeds, black and Sichuan peppercorns in a dry pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  2. In a spice grinder or coffee grinder, grind all of the ingredients into a fine powder.

  3. Store in an airtight container in a dry, dark and cool place.

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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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