One of the nice things about living where we are in rural France is the area teams with wildlife. We had some bed and breakfast guests stay this weekend who were blown away by the fact that just in the short drive down our access road they say owls, bats, rabbits and deer. I really enjoy the wildlife but I’m quite unsentimental about it all, everything has to be kept in balance, if you had seen the expression on Jerome’s (who farms the surrounding land) face when the deer came out of the forest and munched every sunflower in his field you would have to agree.
Therefore hunting is part of life in the community, I don’t mean the poncy English version where city boys blast away at fat pheasants. But real hunting with slightly pissed middle aged men taking pot shots at anything that moves, it really can be dangerous to go out in the woods!
Occasionally some of the bag comes my way, I’ve currently got a quarter of Roe Deer in my freezer waiting for the right occasion to fish it out and early in the year I was given a whole Boars liver.
A hunter had blasted a whole in a farmer friends brand new water tank , my friend was seriously pissed off and he was given a wild boar as a peace offering (as well as a new tank), my friend likes a piece of Boar but a whole one is going to pack out anyone’s freezer so it got spread out amongst friends and family. As well as a couple of roasting pieces I was given the Liver, in my opinion a rare prize.
Boars liver taste like a gamey pigs liver and is packed full with iron and minerals. I had a slice to fry off with some eggs and bacon but the rest was destined for a pâté a decision helped by the fact that Julie’s not keen on cooked liver but she is fine with a liver in a pâté or terrine.
Making boars liver pâté is pretty simple, you need to decide on a suitable recipe, in essence any robust pork liver pâté should work but you need to be a bit freer with the other flavours as the boar liver has a stronger flavour than pig liver.
The recipe that I prefer is below and you will be pleased to know that it also works for pork liver as well, the proportions are based on 1 kilo of liver, adjust the recipe proportionally if you have more or less liver.
- 1kg very fresh boar or pig’s liver
- 500g pork belly
- 2 onion
- 2 tbsp chopped sage
- 100g fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and chopped
- 1 wine glass Madeira
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp sea salt
- A decent turn of freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.
Check over your liver trimming any membrane or ventricles, your going to have to get hands on to do this properly. Personally I always slice the liver in half horizontally then check.
Pass the pork, onion and liver through a mincer using the coarsest plate, if you don’t have a meat grinder have your butcher mince the pork and chop the liver very finely with a knife or give it a very short blast in a food processor (you want to keep some texture).
Transfer the meat mixture to a bowl and add the other ingredients. In a frying pan, fry a little ball of the mixture, taste to check the seasoning and adjust to taste.
Generously grease two 1-litre ovenproof dishes or terrines with butter. Divide the mixture between the dishes, then cover with greased foil or lid.
Place the dishes in a large roasting tin or ovenproof dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Pop into the centre of the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, the pâté is cooked when it pulls away from the side of the dish and is firm to the touch.
Allow the cooked pâté to cool in the dish.
You can improve the texture of the pate by pressing overnight in the fridge by weighing down the mixture with some heavy cans or weights .
The pâté will keep for up to a week in the fridge and freezes fairly well.
I prefer to eat my pâté with toast, tomato’s, cornichons and a rough (not to rough) red wine, how would you eat yours?