Duck Foie Gras Terrine

Don’t let barbecue season lure you away from more gourmet food. There’s no need to wait till the next holiday season to eat foie gras! Washed down with some chilled dessert wine, it makes a lovely snack on a warm afternoon.

Hungary is the world’s second-largest producer of foie gras, although their production is mostly from goose liver. (Bulgaria is the third-largest.) In the United States, foie gras is made from duck liver, and about 99% of it is produced in the Hudson Valley. I usually get mine from D’Artagnon.

This recipe makes a large terrine, but you can easily half the proportions and use a smaller mold. Make sure you buy fresh, Grade A, whole foie gras. Frozen foie gras will result in a soggy texture — as if your terrine had been pre-chewed — and is a complete waste of your time and money.

The terrine can be kept for about 1 week. Serve with quince preserve and toasted brioche-style Pullman bread. And don’t forget the dessert wine!

Duck foie gras terrine
Yields about 12 servings

2 whole Grade A foie gras, about 3 1/2 lb all together
1 oz salt
1/4 oz sugar
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch garam masala
3 tbsp sweet Tokaji wine (or other white dessert wine)
1 tbsp calvados (or cognac)

  • Soak the foie gras in hot water for 30 minutes.
  • Drain and pat dry. Separate the 2 lobes of each liver. In each lobe, make a 1/2″ deep incision lengthwise using a knife. Pull out the veins with the knife or your fingers. You should find a few veins running lengthwise. Don’t overdo it though: you don’t want to turn the top-quality whole liver into some cheap trimmings. Your lobes should still be in one piece once you’re done.
  • In a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, pepper, nutmeg, garam masala, Tokaji and calvados. Place the lobes into a dish, coat both sides with the mixture, then cover and refrigerate for 12 hours, flipping the foie gras after 6 hours.
  • Line a 2 qt terrine mold with plastic wrap. Place one small lobe and one large lobe at the bottom, smooth side facing down. Top with the remaining lobes, smooth side facing up, and cover with the marinade.
  • Fill a baking dish with water about halfway, and heat in a 300 F oven for 30 minutes. Place the terrine mold into the baking dish, and cook for about 40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 130 F.
  • Remove the terrine from the baking dish, cover with a lid, let cool and refrigerate for at least 2 days.
  • To serve, remove from the fridge 30 minutes in advance, pull the foie gras out of the mold, peel off the plastic wrap, and slice with a hot knife.
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