What is Pâté and How is it Made?

Plain and simple, pâté is a mixture of ground meat and fat cooked in a vessel called a terrine. Though it might seem intimidating to make at home, it’s actually quite easy. For a pâté, scraps and organ meats are ground up with muscle meat to create a beautiful little meatloaf— and that’s ultimately what pâté is. It just sounds better in French, doesn’t it? Read on to learn more about this staple of charcuterie boards.

Shop our pâté selection as well as other charcuterie favorites.

What Kind of Meat Can Be Used for Pâté?

Pâté is often made of pig meat and parts, but other wild game meats like snipe, partridge, venison or boar can be cooked into pâté, as can farm-raised duck, rabbit, guinea hen, or pheasant. Even vegetables and fish can be made into pâté. Lean meats require the addition of pork fat to keep the pâté from drying out in the oven.

Often, pâté is cooked in a crust or pie, in which case it is called pâté en croûte—meaning “in a crust.” In England, a workaday version of this pâté is found in every pub—but they call it pork pie.


What’s the Difference Between Pâté & Terrine?

Pâté is cooked in a special metal or porcelain loaf pan, and this mold is called a terrine. You might hear pâté referred to as terrine; if it’s cooked in a terrine, it can correctly be called a terrine.revol-belle-cuisine-21-25-oz-rectangular-terrine-dish-with-lid-614862.jpg

Sometimes served hot, but more often cold, pâté in France refers to the coarsely ground version of the rustic meat dish. Savory herbs and onions, and sometimes Cognac, Armagnac or wine round out most pâté recipes, and pistachios, dried cherries, and prunes might stud the meat, too.

At D’Artagnan we use the term “terrine” to refer to our coarse meat pâtés. The casual and interchangeable use of the two terms is now more acceptable in French culinary circles. And we also refer to silky-smooth foie gras cooked in a terrine as a “terrine.”

Serving and Eating Pâté

Slice them, spread them, share them – pâté is perfect for picnics or serving at parties, on a charcuterie board or alone with sliced baguette.

It’s easy to make sophisticated and simple sandwiches with pâté and creamy mousse.

We love to incorporate pâté in a charcuterie board, along with cured and smoked meats.

D’Artagnan Pâté

Using classic techniques and proprietary recipes, our handmade pâtés and mousses rely on natural ingredients for great taste and satisfying texture.

D’Artagnan’s Pâté de Campagne (com-pon-yah) – literally country pâté – is a pork-based pâté made with liver and pork shoulder, onions, garlic, and parsley. Best when served with grainy mustard, cornichons, and a fresh baguette or boule loaf.

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Our Duck Terrine Mousquetaire (moose-kuh-tear) is classic country-style terrine with the Gascony trinity of flavors: duck, prunes, and Armagnac. The sweetness of the prunes plays well with the rich duck meat in this savory recipe. The name is inspired by the Musketeers (most famous among them a certain D’Artagnan), as mousquetaire is the French version of the word.

Foie gras can also be made in a terrine, which is the purest and simplest version of prepared foie gras, since the whole liver is packed into a terrine mold and cooked at low temperature in a water bath. More on that here.

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Whichever way you slice it, spread it, or serve it, pâté is a treat that everyone seems to enjoy.

How do you eat your pâté? Are you new to this type of charcuterie? Shop the selection at dartagnan.com and let us know how you like it.

Featured photo: Guinea Hen Pâté, Campagne, Normande, Rabbit Provencal at Rotisserie Georgette in New York City

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One Comment Add yours

  1. molaplume says:

    Good morning. Thank you very much for this excellent article.
    Au revoir.

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