Winter Game Pâtés (Venison and Quail) 36.000

Len Spoden

Jan 23, 2008

Chef Jamie Stachowski prefers to use coarsely ground forcemeat for his winter game pate, which is moister than the fattier, smooth versions you can buy at specialty stores. This recipe is challenging and includes an overnight marination for the meat and quail. It also calls for several hard-to-find ingredients.

Veal may be used instead of venison; or if you choose to use all pork shoulder, add about 3 ounces of fatback or slab bacon to the meat for grinding. Loin of rabbit, breast of pheasant or boned chicken legs may be substituted for the quail. We found the venison, semi-boneless quail, pork shoulder and liver at Eastern Market. The pork belly was available at H Mart stores.

Caul fat, a lacy membrane used here to encase the forcemeat in the larger terrine, may be replaced by thin strips of bacon, lined close together on the bottom and up the sides of the terrine, then folded over the top of the forcemeat before baking. Cabbage leaves also may be used, but they will not flavor the pate as much as the caul fat or bacon. Caul fat is available through Eco-Friendly Foods (540-297-9582; at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market), or it can be purchased online (in large amounts) at It can be frozen indefinitely.

Serve cold or at room temperature, with celery root remoulade (see related recipe).

Servings: 36

Yield: Makes one 12-inch-long terrine and one 10 1/4-inch long terrine (about 36 servings)

  • For the forcemeat and marinade
  • 2 pounds venison
  • 1 pound pork shoulder
  • 8 ounces pork belly
  • 8 ounces pork liver
  • 3 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons mixed spices, such as ground clove, ground allspice, ground ginger, crushed star anise, crushed juniper berries
  • 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • For the pâté
  • 4 semi-boneless, skin-on quail
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 to 10 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup store-bought demi-glace or veal stock
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup currants, preferably marinated in 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar for at least 1 hour (may substitute unsweetened dried cranberries or cherries)
  • For the larger pâté
  • 6 ounces caul fat (see headnote), rinsed with cool water
  • For the smaller pâté
  • 1 sheet puff pastry dough (11- by 14- by 3/8 inches), almost at room temperature
  • 6 poached and peeled quail eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water

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For the forecemeat and marinade: Cut the venison, pork shoulder, pork belly and liver into 1-inch strips. Place in a bowl and add the shallots, garlic, herbs, spices, salt, black pepper and wine, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight, turning the meat over once.

For the pate: Remove the remaining bones from the quail and discard them, leaving the skin intact as much as possible. Combine the boned quail, blueberries and cognac in a separate bowl; cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Drain the meats, reserving the marinade; drain the quail and blueberries and add that liquid to the wine meat marinade. Cover and return the meats to the refrigerator. Pat the quail dry on both sides and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the quail and sear for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn them over and sear for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Add the shallots and garlic to the same skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. Add the marinade (wine and cognac combined) and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. Add the demi-glace or veal stock and cook for about 15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup. Strain into a measuring cup, discard the solids and let cool to room temperature.

Use a manual meat grinder or attach a grinder apparatus to a stand mixer fitted with the die plate that has the smallest holes. Fill a large stainless-steel mixing bowl with ice cubes, then place a slightly smaller mixing bowl inside it. Have ready a separate large stainless-steel mixing bowl.

Using the lowest speed on the stand mixer, grind the marinated venison, pork shoulder, pork belly and pork liver, catching the meat in the separate mixing bowl and transferring it as you work to the bowl in the ice-water bath to keep it as cold as possible. When the grinding is finished, shut off the motor.

Add 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white to the ground-meat mixture (reserve the unused egg yolk), then add the cooled and reduced liquid and season lightly with salt and pepper; mix well. Gently fold in the currants and the blueberries that marinated with the quail.

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 12-inch-long ceramic terrine with the caul fat, leaving generous overhang amounts on all 4 sides. Liberally grease the 10 1/4-inch terrine with butter, then line it with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the 2 long sides. Lightly grease the paper with butter and lay in the puff pastry dough, leaving at least 3 inches of overhang on the 2 long sides. Have ready a roasting pan large enough to hold both the large and small terrines. Boil a kettle of water.

Fill the caul-lined terrine halfway with the forcemeat, then lay the cooled quail down the center; it's okay if they overlap slightly. Fill with forcemeat to the top of the terrine, making sure there are no air pockets. Fold 1 side of the caul fat over the top, then arrange the fresh bay leaves in a decorative pattern down the length of the terrine. Fold in the remaining 3 sides of the caul fat, making sure it is snug and trimming off any excess fat. Use heatproof plastic wrap or wax paper to wrap the terrine tightly, then wrap the top half of the terrine tightly with aluminum foil. Refrigerate while you prepare the second terrine.

Fill the 10 1/4-inch terrine with half of the remaining forcemeat, then insert the poached, peeled quail eggs into the forcemeat in a decorative pattern. Cover with the remaining forcemeat and smooth the top. Fold over 1 side of the puff pastry dough, then combine the remaining egg yolk with the tablespoon of water in a small cup and use the mixture to brush the top of the dough; fold over the remaining dough and repeat the egg wash step. Bring up the 2 flaps of overhanging parchment paper to meet at the top of the terrine; fold over and use a metal paper clip to hold them in place, forming a tight, neat package. Wrap the second terrine with plastic wrap and aluminum foil in the same fashion as the first terrine.

Transfer both terrines to the large roasting pan and place on the middle oven rack. Fill the pan with the just-boiled water, using more hot water as necessary to make sure the water level reaches 3/4 of the way up the sides of the terrines. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the larger pate register--0 degrees. (The smaller pate might be finished sooner than the larger pate; start checking at 2 hours.) Carefully transfer the terrines, still wrapped, to a wire rack to cool; weigh them down, preferably with a brick for each or at least some pots with filled cans inside, for about 1 hour. When they have cooled, refrigerate the larger terrine, first pouring off some of the fat if necessary. Discard the baking water.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Discard the plastic wrap and foil from the smaller terrine (the parchment paper remains) and place on the middle oven rack to bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pate registers--0 degrees. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before removing from the parchment paper and the terrine.

When ready to serve, invert the larger pate onto a cutting board and slice, being careful to keep the quail intact (some of the caul fat may be visible; that is okay, as it is edible). Slice the smaller pate, still inside its pastry crust.

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Recipe Source

From chef Jamie Stachowski.

Tested by Geneva Collins.

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