For a fancy dish, foie gras torchon has a humble name. This sister to foie gras terrine is similarly named for the vessel in which it is cooked. “Torchon” means “dish towel” in French, since the foie gras was traditionally wrapped tightly in a towel for cooking. You may see torchon wrapped in a towel, or muslin, to make that historical connection.
Today cheesecloth is more commonly used to form the raw foie gras into a cylindrical shape. The oblong bundle is then gently poached in a pot of water or stock to cook it.
The process of making foie gras torchon takes a few days, as there is plenty of resting the liver between steps. Like a terrine, a torchon should stay in the refrigerator for several days before serving (the anticipation!). For a dazzling display of skill, watch our video with Chef Wylie Dufresne and Ariane; she makes a classic foie gras terrine and he prepares an elaborate torchon, which ultimately becomes the center of his Pho Gras. You can replicate his efforts and make torchon at home with our classic recipe.
Eating Foie Gras Torchon
The cylindrical shape of foie gras torchon makes perfect, neat circles when sliced (a hot knife will help here). These luscious rounds can be served in the same fashion as a terrine of foie gras. Sprinkle a little coarse fleur de sel on top for garnish. Serve torchon chilled with slices of crusty peasant breast, toasted brioche, cranberry walnut loaf, any jam or fruit compote to complement the creamy, fatty flavor. Drink a glass of Sauternes or late-harvest Jurançon, both sweet wines from the Southwest of France which pair perfectly with foie gras.
“Sauternes. This is the best white wine of France and the best of it is made by Monsieur de Lur-Saluces.” -Thomas Jefferson on Château d’Yquem wine. He ordered 250 bottles of the 1784 vintage for himself, and additional bottles for George Washington to bring home to the United States. No word on whether he was able to raise his own foie gras at Monticello, but the wine cellar was well stocked.