Duck Pâté

This pâté is made with chicken livers and an entire duck. If the ducks that you buy come with the liver, by all means add it to the forcemeat. If you have access to wild duck, the recipe will be all the tastier (and picking the meat before cooking eliminates the disadvantage of biting into shot); simply adjust the recipe according to the weight of the meat that you have. This is one of the few involved recipes in this book; save it for a special occasion such as a formal holiday dinner for your best friends.


  • 1 4 - to 5-pound duck
  • about 1 pound chicken livers, cleaned of any sinew or funny spots
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 bouquet garni: several parsley and thyme sprigs tied in cheesecloth with a bay leaf and a celery rib
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 16 grinds of black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • ½ teaspoon Quatre-Épices
  • ½ cup chopped black walnuts
  • fresh pork fat cut into thin slices
  • thin orange slices


Remove the 2 breast pieces from the duck and set aside. Remove the wings from the duck and set aside. Remove the skin and fat from the rest of the duck and set aside. Remove all of the meat from the carcass and the legs and cut it, along with the breasts and the skin on the breasts, into small pieces. You should have about a pound of duck meat. Add an equal weight of cleaned chicken livers and grind through the fine disk of a meat grinder. Add the orange zest and brandy and set aside.

Chop the remaining carcass and wings into small pieces and bring to a boil in the water with the bouquet garni, carrot, and onion, skimming any fat or scum that rises to the surface.

Reduce the mixture to ¼ cup, which will take about 45 minutes. Strain out the solids, then add the minced garlic to the reduced broth and reduce by half—until you have about cup of glaze.

In the meantime, puree the remaining skin and fat in a food processor and render for about an hour, as explained or in a very low oven (170°).

Fold the glaze into the ground meat mixture along with the salt, pepper, the eggs lightly beaten with the cream, and the quatre-épices. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.

The next day, remove the mixture from the refrigerator and fold in the walnuts. Preheat the oven to 300°, line a -quart terrine with the pork fat, and fill with the forcemeat. Garnish with several thin slices of orange, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, place a heavy object such as a brick or can of food on the pâté, and allow to cool. Refrigerate with the weight overnight, then wait a day or two before serving. This pâté is delicious on toast points.