Tuesday, April 10, 2007

bittman thrashing

No way is it this easy to make a pate de campagne. I admire Mark Bittman but he's wrong here. You can't dump peppercorns, eggs and and bacon into a food processor, mix in up with pork shoulder, bake it and produce a decent pate. He must have been under the gun to produce something. This is whacked.

Meatloaf Made Meatier - New York Times

Update: After posting this I went to bed and had a nightmare about this. I made pate de campagne the way that Mr. Bittman did in the video and had to eat it. The fat had run out because it'd been ground too fine and overheated. The meat was mealy and full of whole pepper corns. It was horrible.


Shannon said...

How much meat can a meatloaf meet if a meatloaf could meet meat.

Corny, I know, but I like meatloaf to be light, not dense like a concrete block waiting to sit at the bottom of my stomach.

nevermind the gritty peppercorns!

FaustianBargain said...

is he a trained chef? i dont think thats a pate campagne. it used to take me at least two days to make it. one overnight rest for the flavours to mingle and one overnight after it has been cooked in a bain marie. i dont understand...without gentle heat, all that would turn into a sludge!

secondly, do they use streaky bacon to make pate campagane in america? my formula is veal+pork+pork fat..veal is white meat, so the pork fat will have be equal in volume to the ground veal. but i do use pink salt. all coarsely ground. if someone doesnt have a meat grinder, i think they should get it done at their butcher's or just be happy with store bought pate. there is no shame if one cant make pate campagne at home. why make an inferior product because of lack of resources/equipment? food processor for pate is just nasty. and no protective caul fat there either. this just makes me sad.

having said that, i make the likes of red pepper, tomato-basil-anchovy or leek-potato these days. and i am ok with it. fat is flavour. fat is not food. i use gelatin sometimes and i can live with that, but i cannot bring myself to cook veal anymore.

Bob del Grosso said...

I do not think Mr. Bitman is a trained chef but rather an inspired amateur who has found a comfortable niche selling the idea that great food can be made in 60 minutes.

Much of what he puts out there is pretty good. But I think he has overreached here a bit. As you pointed out you cannot make a palatable pate de campagne this way. It takes at least two days, a grinder, perhaps some cubing with a knife. And while you could use a food processor to make a fine force meat you can't use the type that he is using effectively.
You need one with a real knife blade as in a robot coup R2/4 -not a searated blade as in a cusinart. The blade and bowl need to be chilled to reduce heating due to friction and so on. But you prob. know this.
And yeah, you need to wrap it in caul fat or leaf lard not garnish it with bacon. Yech!