Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Venison Pate


Necessary tool – Food grinder – My Sunbeam Oskar has been my favourite x 18 years plus


Deer Liver -cubed One onion -chopped

4 cloves garlic-crushed and chopped

2 stalks celery-chopped

One lemon -squeezed One lime -squeezed

3 tblsp of olive oil 1/8th cup soy sauce

2 tbsp honey Rosemary – 1 tbsp

Thyme – t tbsp Oregano – 1 tbsp

1 tsp salt Ground Pepper Corns -1 tbsp

Cayenne Pepper – 1 tsp Butter – 1 quarter pound

I'm guessing at the tbsp and tsp amounts because I just use a regular soup spoon since I don't know where the measuring spoons are and only use them if I'm trying someone else's recipe.

I put the oil in the frying pan and brown the onion and garlic before adding the venison liver. I salt and pepper the liver while it's cooking. Add the soy sauce now. I put a lid on the pan, I thoroughly cooking the liver through. It needs to be really well cooked in it's juices. I then drain off the fluid some and add some more oil still cooking it on the stove top now with the lid off. I then add all and other ingredients stirring them in and cooking this for another 5 minutes. I add the butter last.

When the butter is melted I turn off the stove.

I ladle the whole works juice and liver into the electric Sunbeam Oskar food grinder. I let it rip. It seems like it churns forever but then I like the creamy smooth pate best. If I wanted it chunky I could shut it down any time.

I put this in jars and refridgerate. Right now I've got mine outside on the sailboat deck . It's cold outside. I used about half to a third of a carefully cleaned deer liver and got about 16 ounces of pate. It's best served cold but I had a couple of pieces of fresh bread from the Salt Spring Island Thrifty's and smeared the still warm pate on that. It was delicious but then my venison pate has always been delicious.

The Venison Pate beginnings

I've been making venison pate since 1989, the year Bill Mewhort gave me my first whole deer. He'd shot a two point, watched it go down and then shot it again when it came back up. On the ridge he found he'd shot twin two points then had a heart attack carrying both deer out of the North Vancouver Island woods. That's when he met me. I saw him sitting sickly on the side of a logging road and stopped to ask if he was looking for a lift. "No I was looking for a doctor, " he said. I told him I was one. And he told me he thought he might have had a heart attack. I checked him out as best I could and said he'd likely survive. He asked me what I was looking for. I said, "A deer." And he said, "I think you might have found one, if you help me get mine out of the woods." That's when I carried his deer and 'mine' out of the woods while he rested. Later, his doctor confirmed that he indeed may have had a small heart attack, though a minor thing like that would never keep Bill from hunting. Heart attacks, cancer, paget's diseases, marriages, divorces, kids and grandkids wouldn't keep Bill from hunting. They'll probably find a Mewhort hunting gene when they get the human genome fully mapped.

That's how I had a whole deer to cook myself and began to wed my gourmet cooking training with my wild game experience. Last year Bill in his 70's and still hunting got baptized and this year he got married. He's already a grandfather many times over and one of the great hunters of our present day. I think he lets his new wife do the cooking. He lets his son Allen pack out the game he shoots though Allen is as likely now to shoot his own.

My first experience with pate

My first experience with pate was England circa 1971. I think it might have been Charing Cross Road. There was a downstairs wine and cheese bar there that served exotic pate's, duck, goose, boar whatever, with French names and different types of biscuit to have them on. The basement walls were original stone,circa hundreds of years old and the crowd was 70's office young people, baby boom era. They spoke with foreign English accents that made them even more interesting and attractive. I was a first time abroad Canadian working in London after bicycling across Europe with an utterly gorgeous, good humored, sophisticated first wife.

Standing in that really exciting city dressed in a pin striped dark suit eating pate' foire across from my vivacious brunette I might well have been a Sean Connery 007 on a very secret mission. In those days I fancied I looked a bit like Robert Redford (at least wanted to).

My first experiences with liver

"Eat your liver, it's good for you!" My father loved liver and onions. It was a favourite Sunday lunch fare. My mother loved it too. "It's full of iron, nutritious and good for the blood." I hated liver as a child. I used to stare at my plate while my parents told me it was 'good for me'. My parents were meat and potato folk, Dad growing up on the ranch with the benefits of country fine food supplemented by the best of hunting and fishing fare. Mom was a Toronto girl raised protestant and though Scottish Irish heritage, cooked English. I suspect in the Baptist home of her childhood "French cuisine" would be considered too sinfully close to Roman Catholic to be considered godly. Plain hearty wholesome food was the stuff of my childhood. Salt and pepper were really the only spices that the Good Lord probably approved of. "People use spices to disguise the poor quality of their food." Boiled was best but fried was alright. God most likely ate bland too.

Ironically as a young adult I grew to love liver and to this day absolutely love pate. I think while God may be bland, s/he's spicy too.

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