Foie gras recipe

Categories:Duck Recipes / Appetizer / French Recipes / Christmas recipes /

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foie gras is one of the most representative french recipes that mixes the flavors combining skills the and inclination to detail and perfection, specific to the french cuisine.
foie gras means fatty liver, suggesting that only goose or duck liver (fattened before) can be used for this recipe. this kind of liver has a specific creamy-white color, very different from the appearance and the consistency of a normal liver.
preparing a foie gras is considered a masterpiece of french culinary art; it is a very meticulous preparation, but it's worth the effort. a well-done "foie gras fait maison" (homemade foie gras) is a refined delight, that superlatively delight all taste buds.
the french consider foie gras as part of their cultural heritage, that's why this entree is present at all festive meals.
there are many types of foie ("entier"-whole "en bocal"-sterilized in bocal, "en torchon"-in towel, foie gras made of reunited small pieces of liver, "bloc de foie gras","pâté de foie gras" "mousse de foie gras", "parfait de foie gras"), but the one considered the most elegant and most difficult to prepare is the "entier", meaning "whole", which keeps intact the shape of the liver after removing the veins.
foie gras is the fatty liver of goose or duck. the french enjoy it "natural" (i.e. served only with salt or salt and pepper) or with different seasonings, more or less imaginative and challenging for the senses.
one of the most popular seasoning is the one with asian mixed spices, salt and liquor wine (porto, sauterne) and / or fine cognac. this is the recipe that we'll cook today, a "foie gras aux epices" (foie gras with spices), served on slices of pain d'epice (spiced bread) and accompanied by the sweetness of figs, especially prepared for this tasting, with asian spices added.
this way of serving it is one of the special ways to serve the foie gras, but you can also opt for a simpler version, on a few slices of  whole wheat baguette.

- a fresh fatty liver rate of approx. 600 gr. (640 gr., in my case)
- 1 liter of milk
for marinade:
- a pinch of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of "four flavors" asian mix, a teaspoon of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of black pepper, and half a teaspoon (7-8 gr.) of fine salt
- alcoholic liquid: 3-4 tablespoons of cognac, porto, xeres, sauterne (at choice, you can combine them as you wish, i used equal parts of cognac and porto)

foie gras is a demanding dish, which requires a lot of precision and impeccable hygiene conditions (as the terrine will be "mi-cuit", that is half done, so the liver is not heat-treated at high temperatures, which requires verification of the source and perfect condition hygiene when handling). therefore, it is better to work with gloves, on a plastic foil placed on the countertop and have a thermometer handy to check the temperature.
open the foie gras pack, wash it and leave it for 30 minutes in a pot with cold water.

then transfer it in a bowl with cold milk mixed with a tablespoon of salt. always use gloves.

the foie gras should be completely covered with milk (add some more if necessary). cover the bowl with foil and leave it about 1.5 hours. the purpose of this milk bath is to help eliminate blood vessels and facilitate handling of liver lobes; it also tenders very well the liver.

now prepare the marinade ingredients.

in a ceramic or glass bowl, mix the powder ingredients with salt.

in another bowl, mix 3-4 tablespoons of alcohol:

afterwards, remove the liver from the milk bath, wipe it with a clean kitchen towel (paper towel) and put it on the worktop that you previously covered with a plastic food. the foie gras flavored milk can be used for other recipes, but as soon as possible.

separate the two lobes.
we start the process of removing the veins, which is scrupulous and requires some anatomy knowledge, but do not be afraid, it's not surgery, even if it seems :)
so, place the big lobe with the middle part upward. it has two main veins, both in "y" shape with different depths.
following the grooves of the liver, press with your finger and create a ditch, until you reach the vein. you will see that it's very easily, as the liver is very soft.

go along the vein, on the branches, till the end. then insert your finger under the vein and pull gently until you detach it.

after removing the first vein, look in-depth for the second one, which is placed quite similar.
the small lobe has the veins placed in the shape of a star.

try not to abuse too much the liver during this procedure, so that you can bring it to its original shape.
when cleaning is done, sprinkle some seasoning powder and half a teaspoon of alcohol in the liver, then gathered the pieces to its original shape.

sprinkle the spices and alcohol on the outside of the foie gras.

let the marinated liver in the refrigerator, covered with a plastic wrap or in a sealed glass pot. marinating takes between 1 and 12 hours, after preferences.

after marinating, wipe the liver and put it in a ceramic dish (terrine). if you don't have a large pot or you want to get more small forms (as i wanted), put whole pieces in shapes and press well.

this is how it looks before baking.

place the shaped dishes in a pan with water at 70 celsius degrees.

cover them with lids or with aluminum foil.

bake at 150 degrees about 40 minutes, during which check the water temperature to remain at 70 degrees.

check the temperature inside the terrine of foie gras, it should be about 65 degrees when ready.

as you can see, it results a lot of duck/goose fat. this will be partially used for foie gras and the rest for other dishes.

strain and keep only the fat that is yellow. discard the liver juice resulted.
you can add several pieces of liver in the same terrine.

this is how a star of foie gras looks like.

you can sprinkle a little spice for color ("quatre epice" or paprika) and pour a thin layer of clear fat on the foie gras.

once cooled to room temperature, cover it and put it the refrigerator, for about 24 hours.

serve within 5 days. foie gras is a liver pate at its best, extremely smooth and creamy and this combination gives a very interesting discreet perfume.

it is delicious with spiced bread and fig or onion jam (another french specialty).

it can be served as appetizer, along with slices of whole wheat bread and liquor wine (porto) or champagne.

"foie gras aux epices" is a royal treat for all who taste it. if you have the opportunity to get duck liver, i advise you to not let yourselves be discouraged by the meticulous procedure and try the recipe as it is sublime.
enjoy your meal!
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