And so it’s hit me. Nine challenges in, the Charcutefatigue has made an appearance with this month’s challenge – packing. This month, sadly, I just wasn’t in love with my pâté. This month was the month I had the highest hopes for and I figured it was something I couldn’t mess up, so when my pâté de campagne came out less than satisfactorily, I was very disappointed. And *this* close to not making the pork pie (which I am glad I did after all). Also *this* close to not posting this pâté. But if you read my blog you’ll know that I am not afraid to post my failures in the kitchen. Keeping it real, you know? 😉
Now here’s the thing. When I am in France, I eat a lot of pâté de campagne. I much prefer it to its smoother brother, the terrine or simple pâté (the “campagne variety is more rustic, with visible chunks of meat, not the smooth spready kind most of us associate with the word pâté). So I guess my standards are unrealistically high. Especially since I just spent 6 weeks in France. You know. Eating the good stuff. I was convinced since the beginning of Charcutepalooza in January that this would be the recipe I would make, fall in love with and make over and over again. Well now since neither Neil or I loved it, I am going to have to make it again. And get it right.
So, what went wrong? Well, I ground the meat in the food porcessor instead of the meat grinder because I
couldn’t be bothered with the grinder wanted a chunkier texture. So that might have been considered a problem but actually the texture was the least of its issues. The second issue I found was that I simply couldn’t wrap the meat mixture tight enough. I don’t own a proper terrine tin so I used a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. As I was trying to wrap this as tightly as I could, I all of sudden panicked that the plastic wrap was going into the oven. Albeit at a low temperature but still… Was kinda freaked out but Charcutepalooza peeps on Twitter reassured me that it would be fine.
Once out of the oven, I weighted it down and left it in the fridge overnight. But it looked wrong. Kind of soggy and a lot of liquid escaping the plastic wrap. And some of the edges were pink, even though I used a digital thermometer. On a side note – Ruhlman says the pâté will take about an hour. Mine took well over 2 to get to the right internal temperature (same amount of ingredients – I guess the pan I used played into that somewhere). The next day…… (Warning: ugly meat pictures to follow)
Eww, right? Soggy, doesn’t look cooked and oh my goodness, the consistency of meatloaf. Though (ahem) using a proper knife helped somewhat with the appearance (bottom right-hand corner). Actually for what is essentially a big old block of meat, it didn’t look too bad when cut properly. It *looked* right. Sadly, though I had seasoned it correctly (or so I thought) and tasted at the right times, it was just bland. No flavour at all. Well, that’s what Neil and I thought. We were so disappointed.
guinea pigs friends seemed to really enjoy it.
I took a week’s break between challenges and started the pork pie with fresh eyes. I was concerned about pastry this time, not so much the meat, since me and pastry, well we don’t get along so well. I followed Ruhlman’s pastry recipe from Charcuterie to a T. I found it very, very wet going into the fridge to rest for an hour or so and had to use a LOT of flour to get it to come together so I could roll it out. Next time, I might not use all the liquid in one go and I definitely would not combine the butter/ shortening and flour with my fingers – I’d use a pastry cutter or possibly a food processor. I definitely was not able, even with very cold hands, to rub the fats into the flour satisfactorily. I finally got two circles of pastry rolled out and had made sure to season the meat mixture well. And then came the fun part. Getting the meat in the pastry…
And having it stick…
Ok, ok, you can stop laughing. It *is* the world’s worst pork pie pastry ever. I should have followed Mrs Wheelbarrow’s directions and covered the meat with the pastry from the top, not the bottom. Sigh. But hey..
I only made a tiny pork pie, barely enough for three servings. I know he’s rustic but I kinda liked him…
We ate this hot. I didn’t have any room for the aspic in the top of the pie. Though it seems I had some room in the bottom. Just like Mrs Wheelbarrow. Apart from using a pie mold, I am not sure what to do to pack the meat in tighter so it has a space at the top of the pie, not the bottom.
Onwards and upwards. A few challenges to go. We can do this. Team eat. live. travel. write. can do this.
The “official signup” for Charcutepalooza is over (see who signed up here) but you can still join in the fun – purchase Charcuterie either on Amazon, Amazon.ca or enjoy free worldwide shipping at The Book Depository and cook along with us for the final couple of challenges.
And, you know, should you wish to purchase a meat grinding attachment for your Kitchen Aid, you can find one here. Just, you know, remember to use the blade instead of leaving it in the box.