Elk Liver Pate’
Pate’… that sinful, luscious, blend of liver, fat, herbs, liquor, and a bit of heaven. Long before I picked up a gun, and began my culinary journey which now includes hunting my own game & fowl, utilizing as much as possible from my harvests, and producing delicious foods like Elk Liver Pate’, I had amazing introductions to gourmet cuisine that are burned into my memory. These memories fuel my inspiration in a way that keeps them alive and moving me forward, challenging myself, and loving every step of the process!
The Red Fox Inn, Bondville Vermont, circa 1976. “Carol! Get in here & try this!” say’s my brother Mick; Head Chef at the Red Fox in his early years. I worked that winter waiting tables at an Austrian ski lodge on Stratton Mountain & lived with the other kids in a dorm set up for us by the owners. What a Vermont kid in those days wouldn’t do to live on the mountain in return for a free ski pass! I would go hang out in the kitchen at the Red Fox with my brother if I found a bit of spare time and watch him create magical foods I would soon come to love! As often was the case, Mick would’t let me question anything until I tasted it. Just as I was about to ask what this silky brown filling wrapped in a golden flaky crust might be, but he stopped me before I could speak. “Just open up” he said as he stood there with a fork full of Pate’ en croute in one hand, and a small glass of sauterne in the other. This is the first of many such instances between us in the years to come… or maybe it’s the first I remember. He slipped the pate’ into my mouth, handed me the sauterne, and my brain was immediately on sensory overload! I have to say, from that day forward for the next 30 years, I became a quester for experiencing pate’ in all of my travels. It is a treasure to me! The idea that something so valuable as treasure, must be hidden or kept in safe places… so one much search to find it!
When looking for a simple base recipe, with pure flavors, and few ingredients, I found my inspiration within a cookbook I found in my local library “Baltimore Chef’s Table” by Kathy Wielech Patterson & Neil Patterson. Baltimore Chef’s Table Cookbook in a recipe developed by Chef Winston Blick Chef Winston Blick for Chicken Liver Pate’. His recipe is sinful… almost erotic. Poaching ground bacon, onion, garlic, and liver in butter is as food porn as it gets in my book! Here is my version:
Elk Liver Pate’
1 lb. Sweet Butter (unsalted)
1/2 lb. bacon ground through meat grinder
1 small sweet onion chopped
3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
19 0z Elk Liver (or whatever wild game liver you have)
3 oz Grand Marnier
3 oz Pure Vermont Maple Syrup, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Sticks Sweet Butter (unsalted)
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- In a large saute’ pan melt butter over low heat. Add the ground bacon, garlic, and onion. Poach till soft.
- Add the livers and poach till barely pink inside.
- Turn off heat and allow to cool to 100-120 degrees F.
- Blend all in the food processor, add the liquor and syrup. Blend till completely smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow to cool in a large pan or individual cups.
- Top with Butter Herb Topping: Melt the final 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan. Add the herbs de Provence and allow to simmer gently for about 3 minutes to release flavors into the butter. Pour over cooled pate’.
- Refrigerate till firm.
Serve with crusty bread, or in any recipe you choose. Enjoy!