Wow - November already! Where does the time go? Well, no matter, because we have a tasty treat for you. It's hunting season and many of us are looking forward to a feed of moose. And holiday entertaining is starting to creep into our consciousness, too. So why not get a start on Christmas preparations and do something a little different with some of your moose - try your hand at homemade moose pâté. It freezes well so you can make it ahead for easy entertaining throughout the holidays. You could also make smaller sizes to give as gifts with a jar of mustard, a bottle of gherkins and a box of crackers - all together in a lovely gift basket. Add a bottle of wine if you like. (A pinot noir would be delicious!) What's better than the gift of food? Especially moose pâté from your own kitchen made with fresh local meat.
Now, our recipe is a little different from the ordinary pâté. Many commercial pâtés contain a fair bit of liver to give a softer, spreadable consistency. We have found that when people say they don't care for pâté, it's usually the texture and the livery flavour that puts them off. So we've developed a more rustic recipe that is a firmer style with just enough liver to keep it all together. It's smoother than meatloaf but not as soft as commercial pâté. You can certainly vary the seasonings to suit your taste. You'll notice there's a fair bit of fat added, but don't worry - moose is so lean that we need to add moisture and flavour.
You can vary the cooking container. It works fine if a metal loaf pan is all you have, but the texture seems to be a touch nicer if you use a ceramic loaf (terrine) dish. You could also pack it into small ramekins (like you'd use for crème caramel) or mini loaf pans.
1½ lbs ground moose
2 oz butter
2 oz duck fat (available from some butchers - or just use more butter)
4 oz liver - pork or beef
1½ tsp allspice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp dry thyme
2 tsp smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic
1½ tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 oz brandy
1 tbsp marmalade
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Purée everything but parsley in a food processor until mixture comes together in a fine paste. (Tip: If you start with an empty food processor bowl with lid on, first drop the garlic cloves through the feed tube with the motor running - the garlic will chop instantly. Then open the lid and carry on with the recipe.) Add parsley and process again until combined.
Pack down well into a greased and plastic-wrap lined loaf pan. Tap on counter several times to be sure the pâté is tightly packed in pan. Wrap top tightly with plastic wrap and then cover again with foil. Tuck foil tightly under lip of loaf pan all the way around. Place in a larger pan and place on middle rack in oven. Pour boiling water in the larger pan till it's two-thirds the way up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in 250°F oven 90-120 minutes. Be sure to top up water as needed. The pâté is done when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If not, bake a little longer. If you use smaller pans, you'll probably need to reduce baking time. Let pâté cool completely inside wrap and pan. Then chill (or freeze) till ready to serve. If there is hardened fat around the outside, simply remove it before serving. It's nicest at room temperature.
Moose pâté is wonderful served with all sorts of mustards and crusty bread! We serve it with partridgeberry mustard. Here's how to make it:
Mix together 3 tbsp partridgeberry jam, 3 tbsp grainy mustard, 1 tsp wine vinegar, a pinch each of garlic and onion powder, cinnamon, cloves and salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 10 min. or so to allow flavours to blend. Serve with moose pâté and crusty bread.