I need a breather mid-list as I said last week, because I’m in over my head and have reached research fatigue.  Halloween is as good an excuse as any for taking a break.  In case anyone cares or is curious on our projects and pains (I mean plans?) these days, well there is a short and sweet list I can more easily offer.

Handy hubby is full steam ahead in his chicken hobby/obsession, and still hasn’t the heart to slaughter any of our girls.  He did trap two more pesky hogs and with them I have finally crafted the perfect Boar Paté de Campagne recipe.  Obviously it helps tremendously to have young, wild fed livers.  I’m not a fan of liver at all actually, but a good paté or sausage should not have a pungent liver taste, in my humble American opinion.   I hit it out of the ballpark this time, at last!

We have taken the next baby step in our commitment to exclude ourselves from the industrial food system as much as possible.  Chicken, ironically, was one big bastion still to conquer.  Our hypocrisy on that front was appalling and the cognitive dissonance finally got to be too much to tolerate.  We were still buying the “cheap” brutally-raised chickens from Costco!  Not only do I abhor such an animal-raising system, but we have a yard full of chickens we don’t have the heart to kill.  Talk about absurd!  But, part of quandary:  I love to eat chicken!  So when I insisted we buy the organic, free-range variety, and handy hubby saw the price of them, he enthusiastically erected a second chicken coop for meat birds.  So, we will have our laying flock to nurture and admire with plenty of eggs for ourselves and the neighbors, plus a meat flock for the freezer.  One step closer to a more sustainable meal morality, right?  Little sis is still a vegan, so I expect some argument from her on that last assumption.

For a wee Halloween-themed anecdote, let me tell you about our very scary rooster.  I now travel the yard with a pitchfork always in hand, because that darned cock is a Big Brutus!  When I least expect it he will ambush me, always from behind.   I have had to learn aggressive tactics I would have never dreamed necessary on a creature so much smaller than myself.  But seriously, he can be impressively intimidating!  And you wouldn’t even imagine what it takes to get him to back down.  I risk PETA backlash here, but I have broken the wooden handle of a rake across his back and he did not even flinch.  The books would say throw him in the stew pot before he grows spurs–because otherwise I risk not just a little nick, rather I’ll be in the emergency room while they’re stitching up a major gash.

But the thing is, it’s not so easy to just throw him in the stew pot.  He’s doing a darn good job protecting his harem, how can I punish him for doing his good work?  Until he draws serious blood, I’ll buck up, and start honing my warrior skills.  I expect the liver will help.

Boar Paté de Campagne

  • 1 lb liver and 2 lbs pork shoulder cut into 1 inch chunks
  • Shallots or onion, finely chopped — 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, minced — 1 or 2 cloves
  • ½ cup lightly coarsely mashed garbanzo beans (not traditional I know, but adds great consistency and nutty flavor)
  • Thyme, fresh & finely chopped, about a handful (also good is Herbes de Provence) and several sprigs of French Tarragon (if you like that flavor)
  • Salt and pepper — to season
  • Soy creamer– 1/2 cup (or regular cream if you prefer)
  • Eggs, lightly beaten — 2
  • Flour — 3 tablespoons (plus a bit more if too “wet”)
  • Whiskey — 2 tablespoons

Method

1.    Trim the meat of any fat or gristle and run the liver under cold running water for 10 minutes, soaking also if necessary to remove all traces of blood.  Combine the onion, herbs and meat in large bowl.

2.    Working in batches, add the meat mixture to a food processor and pulse until the meat is well chopped but still chunky. Return about 1/3 of the meat mixture and process until it is smoother, but still has some texture. Stir it back into the rest of the meat mixture.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a meat grinder or even a good blender, which will alter the consistency considerably, but still works fine.

3.    Add the cream, eggs, flour and whiskey to a bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth. Stir into the meat mixture and add the garbanzo beans.

4.    Make a small patty with some of the meat and cook it in a skillet. Taste the patty and adjust salt and other seasonings to taste. The meat should be well seasoned. (I saved some of the meat mixture in Ziplok bags to make “spoon sausage”-it will be too wet to hold patties, but just spooned into a piping hot skillet and smashed down makes for a delicious breakfast sausage!)

5.    Preheat oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a pâté or terrine mold or a 1 1/2-quart glass nonreactive loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving extra wrap hanging over the side. Pour the meat mixture into the mold and top with sliced green olives if desired. Smooth it out and tap the mold on the counter to get rid of any air pockets. Bring the extra plastic wrap up over the top of the pâté and cover the mold with a lid or aluminum foil.

6.    Place the mold into a heatproof baking dish large enough to hold it and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the mold. Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the pâté reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

7.    Remove from the oven, cool completely, then refrigerate overnight or for up to 1 week. Use the extra plastic wrap to lift the pâté out of its mold. Serve sliced with baguette or crackers, cornichons, onions, and Dijon mustard.

Portions of this recipe and process have been lifted from : http://www.whats4eats.com/appetizers/pate-de-campagne-recipe

Now that's one big strong cock!

Now that's a big strong cock!

One big happy family

One big happy family

The new coop, nearly done

The new coop, nearly done