My poor non-French people,
Let me confess a little thing, just between you and me, entre nous.
I’m not French and perfect.
Ok, I’m French, and most of the time, as most of us do, I just wish I was perfect. But I’m trying! And you know, as I’ve learned here in the US, “Fake it until you make it”, so let’s pretend I actually have absolutely no defect, a rocking body and a wonderful, easy nature. Ho, and also, that my photos show how perfect the food I’m trying to share with you is.
This morning I considered not posting this recipe, because I didn’t like the pictures I had of it.. Photos I took very quickly when I made the dish two weeks ago. I actually didn’t have time for a picture perfect photo shoot: my family was hungry and to tell you the truth, I just wanted a little rest after a week long of running everywhere.
Of course if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’m joking about the whole “French and perfect” thing. I’m actually more trying to explain how French women try to “have it all”… And actually, of course, as for everybody, they can’t.
It’s hard to work, and cook, and raise your kids, and have friends, and stay fit, and be sexy, and still have the fortune of all fortune: be happy. But I guess something I love about my French friends, is that they embrace a little bit more their imperfections. Something about “faire avec ce qu’on a“, do with what you have, and make it better. So there it is. My French and imperfect pictures for a French and perfect Easter.
Pâté de Paques
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sausage meat
1 tablespoon Espelette pepper
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
1/2 cup crème fraîche
5 eggs and 1 egg yolk
Cilantro, thyme, parsley, rosemary
2 puff pastry sheets
I really wanted to post this recipe before Easter, because it’s a French specialty for the Sunday Easter lunch. That, and a Gigot de sept heures (an amazing 7 hours cooked Lamb roast, also called “à la cuillère” because the meat is so tender you can eat it with a spoon. My pictures of it are too bad to publish, but the recipe is in my cookbook!)
It’s a tradition mainly in the Loire Valley, where I come from, but I won’t start a new fight by saying which French town or region has the best recipe: my rillettes post started a war in Le Mans and Tours, and even made the front page of local newspaper “Le Maine Libre“… I really didn’t think I would receive insult emails just for sharing a recipe, but I guess that just shows how dear food specialties are to French people (and how good rillettes are).
So don’t count on me to tell you that pâté berrichon (with boiled eggs in it) is better than pâté de Chartres (with game meat)! My recipe is a take on each of them anyhow… I can only tell you that my uncle, who knows his way around good food in the Loire Valley (check out his shop, “Made in Loire“, in Beaugency, with amazing local specialties) says his favorite is the pâté chartrain served at Le Grand Monarque, in Chartres (but there’s foie gras inside so that’s not fair!).
- Preheat your oven at 400°F
- Mix the beef and the sausage meat, preferably in the bowl of your stand mixer (but really, you can do it all by yourself with a good fork…)
- Mince the cilantro and parsley, add them to the meat with espelette pepper, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and any fresh herbs you want to try
- In another bowl, whip two egg, then add the crème fraîche (you can also try with crema mexicana, or even whipping cream). Pour in the meat bowl and mix.
- Boil three eggs (less than 10 minutes), then peel them.
- In a meatloaf pan, first lay a puff pastry sheet. Pour half of the meat mixture in it. Then place the peeled boiled eggs every 2 inches. Pour the rest of the meat on them.
- Cover with a puff pastry sheet, pinch the edges so that everything is glued, and brush with egg yolks. Make a small hole in the middle with a knife, and create a small chimney with some rolled parchment paper, so that the steam comes out.
- Cook for 15 minutes at 400°F, then for 30 minutes at 350°F
You can serve it tepid, or cold, with a nice lettuce and vinaigrette.
Bon appétit les amis!