How to make Pate Maison

JamieTurner Mar 11, 2008 Food
Nearly every top restaurant has its own version of Pate Maison, or “House Specialty.” Pate is a meat loaf with a difference. For one thing, though both are made with ground and cooked meat, pate is served cold or at room temperature. More importantly, pate textures are more silky smooth and its flavors deeper, all as a result of the large amount of fat that goes into it. This process can take a few days to make, but the yielding sense of accomplishment and tremendous joy from eating it make the effort all worthwhile. Serves 12 as a first course.


Things you’ll need

  • 1 ceramic terrine baking dish mold, about 10-inches by 3-inches by 3-inches
  • deep roasting pan big enough for the terrine to sit in
  • 1 sharp French knife
  • food processor
  • small whisk
  • cutting table
  • large skillet
  • aluminum foil
  • large mixing bowl
  • small mixing bowl
  • meat thermometer
  • 6 slices salt pork
  • 6 slices raw bacon, diced
  • ½ cup finely minced shallots
  • ½ tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1 lb. calves liver
  • 1 lb. chicken livers
  • 2 tsp. salts
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 juniper berries, smashed with a heavy knife and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Madeira wine
  • ½ tsp. fresh chervil, chopped
  • ½ tsp. fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • a few bay leaves


Procedure Steps

  1. Rinse the salt pork slices in cold water to remove some of the salt. Drain thoroughly. Line the terrine mold with the salt pork slices. Cut the calves liver into 1-inch pieces and the chicken livers in half.  
  2. Cook the diced bacon in the skillet until the fat is rendered. Sauté the garlic and shallots with the bacon until tender and lightly browned. Add the liver pieces and all of  the seasonings into the skillet, and cook until the pink color has disappeared from the livers.
  3. Remove the liver mixture from the skillet and put into the large bowl. Set aside to cool, about 30 minutes. Put the eggs into the small bowl and whisk together, then add the Madeira wine to the eggs.
  4. When the liver mixture has cooled, put it into the food processor and blend until thoroughly pureed. Add the egg mixture into the livers, a little at a time. Remove the liver mixture from the processor bowl and pack it into the terrine mold lined with the salt pork slices. Place a few of the bay leaves on top of the terrine, end to end. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Put into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place the terrine in the deep roasting pan, then fill the inside of the roasting pan with simmering hot water. Fill half way up the sides of the terrine baking dish. Carefully put the pan into the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees on the thermometer.
  6. Remove the pan carefully from the oven, and take out the terrine when it’s cool enough to handle. Let it sit out on the counter for about 3 hours to come to room temperature. Then put the terrine still covered into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. More time sitting in the cooler is better for the pate to enrichen in flavor.    
  7. When ready to serve, either cut ¾-inch slices right out of the terrine mold, or slice the terrine after unmolding it onto a platter. To accomplish the latter, you must dip the terrine in warm water for half a minute or so, then run a knife all along the interior sides of the terrine. Invert it on a platter. Once the pate has come out of the mold, cut it into ¾-inch slices. Garnish the platter as you like, and serve immediately.


  • Service of Pate Maison often comes with triangles of dark rye or French bread to set it on for eating, but you can also use any of the finer crackers, such as water crackers, or even better, freshly-made toast points from brioche bread.
  • Accompaniments for classic Pate Maison usually include the wonderful French gherkins, cocktail onions and spicy capers, each mounded along side the serving dish for your guests to spoon onto their plates.
  • You can also serve slices of pate on a bed of mixed salad greens for a first course at the dinner table.


Kept wrapped and left in the refrigerator before serving, your pate can last for weeks. But as any other type of food with protein, sitting out at room temperature for too long can be hazardous. What has not been eaten from the original platter should not be kept too long before discarding. Try to serve only what may be eaten within 2 to 4 hours at a time, and if more is needed, then replenish from any extra held in the refrigerator.


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1 CommentsAdd a Comment
Emil on Apr 25, 2014
Ca l'air bon! A very good looking recipe indeed, I'll definitely be making it soon. Thanks for sharing!
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