I think I surprised Mme Perez in the butcher’s shop in Roujan when I said I wanted to make paté. You see, her husband makes wonderful patés and no one here would think of making it themselves. But I wanted to try it again, for the first time for several decades. I used to make a lot of patés when I lived in Oxford and then in rural Wales at a time when ‘exotic’ foods weren’t so widely available. A rather nice cast iron dish with a lid that had been my mother-in-law’s reminded me of those times. And the result was very tasty and less fatty than bought patés.
250 grams pork liver
250 grams belly pork, skin and odd bits of gristle and bone removed
4 cloves garlic
a bunch of fennel leaves (I’d just picked some that was growing wild in the garrigue, but you could use other fresh herbs)
a bunch of parsley
25 ml Armagnac (or white wine)
Mince the pork belly and liver. I used the food processor for this, but still miss my mother’s hand mincer that I used to use and that has got mislaid somewhere during our moves over the past years. Finely chop the garlic and herbs. I did this in the food processor too. Mix the minced meat, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and Armagnac and put the mix into an oven-proof, cast-iron or earthenware, dish with a lid, greased with olive oil.
Put the dish, covered with its lid, in a bain-marie – a roasting dish with a couple of centimetres of water in it works fine. Put bain-marie and paté dish in the oven and cook for one and a half hours at 180°C.
Take it out of the oven, remove the lid and allow the paté to cool.
Serve with bread and green salad and a glass of wine – red, rosé or white.