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Fabulous Foie Gras



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“The French grade and classify foie gras, whether of duck or goose,
with a manic fervor that defies comprehension by foreign infidels."
~ Saveur Magazine

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La Belle Cuisine


Fabulous Foie Gras

Recipe Source (unless otherwise indicated):

Saveur Cooks
Authentic French
By the Editors of Saveur, 1999, Chronicle Books


“The 19th century English cleric Sydney Smith once proposed that heaven was ‘eating…foie gras to the sound of trumpets’. For me, you could hold the trumpets.
It’s my madeleine. Along with Romanesque cathedrals, foie gras was my first big discovery when I went to France as a kid. I never take a single silken bite without thinking back to the early 1950s, when I was so memorably disabused of my belief that all liver came from calves and all cathedrals were Gothic. Foie gras makes
me feel young again, in other words. And it makes me feel, in the immortal words
of Bob Strauss, the Texas politico, like ‘a rich sumbitch’. People have been nuts
about foie gras (it’s pronounced ‘fwah grah’ and literally means ‘fat liver’) since
antiquity. Egyptian paintings from 2500 B.C. show farmers holding geese by the
neck and force-feeding them balls of grain. The Romans fed their geese figs, to
obtain what they called
iecur ficatum, or liver with figs; so closely was this fruit
identified with this organ, in fact, that the modern Italian word for liver,
derives from the Latin word for fig. Even the French don’t argue that foie gras is
the most easily digestible thing in the world. Don’t eat too much of it, I’d advise,
and certainly don’t eat it too late at night. On the other hand, it is said that
Bismarck used to drink a glass of milk and eat a slice of foie gras to cure his
insomnia. No wonder they called him the Iron Chancellor.”

R. W. Apple. Jr.

“Liver Lore”

“The French grade and classify foie gras, whether of duck or goose, with a
manic fervor that defies comprehension by foreign infidels. [In other words,
they are passionate about their foie gras!] Here are brief definitions of a few
of the more important terms for the foie-gras buyer to understand”:

Foie Gras Frais: Fresh raw liver. You buy it, take it home, and cook it right
away. This is what the chefs of the great restaurants start with, and what
you will need for the terrine recipe [following].

Foie Gras Entier:  This is the same as a terrine made with an entire lobe. At
home, serve this as an appetizer with toasted brioche (for a little sweetness)
or rustic sourdough and a glass of sauternes or port or other sweet wine.

Bloc or Mousse de Foie Gras:  Reconstituted from smaller pieces or
trimmings of foie gras (or lower-grade foie gras) and puréed. Serve on
toasted bread to accompany an aperitif of sweet wine.

Pâté de Foie Gras:  Often includes pork or chicken livers, pork fat, and/or
puréed pork or ham, as well as scraps of duck or goose livers. Great in a
baguette sandwich with a glass of red wine, but it’s more pâté than foie gras.


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Terrine de Foie Gras

Serves 10

“This opulent terrine, whose secrets we learned from chef Christian
Guillut of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, is one of the simplest but most
memorable classics of French cuisine.”

1 fresh duck foie gras (about 1 1/2 pounds),
room temperature
1/3 cup good-quality sauternes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh black truffle, wiped clean and
finely chopped (optional)

1. Starting with whole lobes of foie gras [Saveur Cooks Authentic French includes illustrations], pull any bits of translucent membrane from the surface of the foie gras and separate the two lobes, using a knife to
sever any connecting veins. Probe for the main vein and its branches
with your fingers, pulling it out as you follow its length. Inspect the
folds for patches of bitter green bile and, if found, extract them with
a knife. Slice off any bruises. Put foie gras in a nonreactive bowl
with water to cover and plenty of ice cubes. Soak overnight in the
2. Drain foie gras and pat dry with paper towels, then break into even pieces. Put into a medium bowl or baking dish and drizzle sauternes
over top. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinate for 2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees  [F]. Remove foie gras from marinade and press into a 2 1/2-cup terrine, leaving a bit of space at top. Place terrine
on 3 folded-over paper towels in the bottom of a deep ovenproof skillet
(to steady terrine), and fill pan with hot water to reach halfway up sides
of terrine. Place in the oven and cook until internal temperature of foie
gras reaches 115 degrees [F] on a meat thermometer, about 30 minutes.
Pour off and reserve fat. Set terrine aside to cool.
4. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside top of terrine and wrap it in plastic. Gently press cardboard onto foie gras and weight with a small can for 1 hour. Remove can and cardboard, return reserved fat to terrine, cover
and refrigerate 1–2 days.
5. To unmold, dip terrine in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds, run a knife along edges and invert onto a plate. (Reserve fat in terrine.) Serve sliced, garnished with truffle, if you like. If covered in reserved fat, foie gras will keep, refrigerated, for 1 week.


Foie Gras de Canard Poêlé
aux Raisins Blancs

(Seared Foie Gras with Green Grapes)

“The freshness of green grapes offsets the richness of the foie gras
in this dish from Alain Dutournier’s Au Trou Gascon in Paris –
perhaps the most consistently satisfying outpost of southwestern
French cooking in the capital.”

1 fresh duck foie gras (about 1 1/2 pounds),
room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups good-quality sauternes
1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
1 tablespoon ruby port
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespon fine bread crumbs
2 cups large green grapes, halved and seeded

1. Starting with whole lobes of foie gras, pull any bits of translucent mem- brane from the surface of the foie gras and separate the two lobes, using
a knife to sever any connecting veins. Probe for the main vein and its
branches with your fingers, pulling it out as you follow its length. Inspect
the folds for patches of bitter green bile and, if found, extract them with
a knife. Slice off any bruises. Rinse foie gras under cold water, then pat
dry with paper towels. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
2. Reduce sauternes in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about
20 minutes, to about 1/2 cup. Then set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees [F]. Rub a large cast-iron skillet with garlic clove, then sear foie gras over high heat until nicely browned and crisp
on the outside, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove foie gras and set
aside. Pour off fat and reserve for another use.
4. Deglaze skillet with port, stock, and reduced sauternes. Add sugar,
bread crumbs, grapes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over high
heat 3 minutes. Return foie gras to skillet and place in oven 10 - 12
minutes, until interior is pinkish beige or reaches 120 degrees [F] on
a meat thermometer. Serve thinly sliced, with sauce and grapes.


Caramelized Onion and Foie Gras
Bread Pudding

Prime Time Emeril:
More TV Dinners from
America's Favorite Chef

By Emeril Lagasse, 2001, William Morrow & Co.

6 ounces fresh foie gras
4 large eggs
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 cups 1-inch cubes day-old French
bread (about half of a large loaf)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic

Cut the foie gras into 1/2-inch cubes. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate
until ready to use.
Whisk the eggs and cream in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons of
the salt, the pepper, and nutmeg and whisk to blend. Add the bread cubes
and press them down to submerge them in the mixture. Let stand until the bread absorbs most of the liquid, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 11 x 7 x 2-inch baking dish
with 1 teaspoon of the butter and set aside.
Unwrap the foie gras and season with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the foie gras and cook, turning often,
until just seared, no more than 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a platter.
Add the onions to the fat in the hot skillet and season with the remaining
1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove
the pan from the heat and let cool until the onions are lukewarm, about
10 minutes.
Stir the foie gras and onions into the bread and cream mixture. Pour into
the prepared baking dish. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into thin slivers and dot the top of the bread pudding with it.
Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center
comes out clean, about 1 hour. Scoop onto plates to serve.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Featured Archive Recipes:
Foie Gras with Apple Purée and Hazelnuts
Blanc de Foie Gras aux Huitres
(Custard of Foie Gras and Oysters)


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