Category Archives: foie gras

Chicken Parts Pate

When I was a kid, I remember my family, or maybe it was just my parents, fighting over the turkey “parts” at Thanksgiving dinner. At the time, I thought eating turkey gizzard and heart was totally gross and likely some kind of country-hick hold-over from my parents’ rural childhoods, i.e., very suspect. Now as an adult, of course, I’m like, yum yum! My mom always put these “parts” in the stuffing, but all this liver-talk lately has made me rethink that. I took a look at Nourished Kitchen’s chicken liver pate and came up with this recipe based on the parts that came in the baggie stuffed inside a roaster chicken (except the neck, which I use in stock). I’ll be doing this with my Thanksgiving turkey as well. Mmmm.

Chicken Parts Pate


chicken parts (all the tidbits that come inside the baggie of a roaster chicken/turkey, except the neck)

1/4 c finely chopped onions

1 T pork fat


1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

2 T dry red wine

3 T butter

1 T yogurt, plus about 1 cup for the overnight soaking of the parts

optional: 1 tsp fruit jelly

Makes 1/2 cup of pate

  1. Rinse the chicken parts and then soak overnight in yogurt.
  2. Rinse the chicken parts and let drain.
  3. Meanwhile, back at the stove, saute onions with a pinch of salt over med-high heat in a tablespoon of pork fat and a tablespoon of butter until golden. (I have a lot of pork fat due to the pork belly, but I’m sure bacon fat would work just as well).
  4. Put the chicken parts and spices in with the onions, mix together, and heat until nearly all the moisture in the pan is gone.
  5. Pour in 2 T dry red wine and use your wooden spoon to rub off the yummy, stuck bits on the bottom of the skillet. Cook again until the skillet is nearly dry.
  6. When cool, place all this in your food processor with 2 T butter and 1 T yogurt. If you have a teaspoon of apricot-honey or quince-honey jelly, add that in as well. Adding sweetness balances out the rich flavor.
  7. Process until smooth. This will take a few times of using your spatula to wipe down the sides of the container and re-pulsing until smooth.

I have to say this doesn’t look like much (cat food comes to mind), but it tastes pretty darn good. I ate half of it at lunch with celery sticks and carrots. It would be awesome on cheddar crackers as well. It’s very rich, so that 1/2 cup goes a long way. I think I’ll make a turkey version of this for our Thanksgiving dinner, unless of course, The Man and I want to fight over the parts, in which case, they won’t make it to pate.

chicken parts pate in a ramekin


Filed under foie gras, holiday recipes, Pate, Recipes, SCD, Thanksgiving

Toulouse’s Marche Couvert

My feet are bloody stumps after walking around Toulouse for 11 hours straight today. Wow. Not even sure where to start except to say that this is an awesome city and I hope to come back as soon as possible.

It’s a small city with narrow streets lined with four- to six-story, old apartment buildings featuring the typical wooden shutters, and with shops on the street level. People drive like maniacs through the tight streets where many people are walking because the sidewalks are so narrow. I’ve noticed that French women really YELL harshly at their children when they accidentally step into the street, and I can understand why. There’s no way anyone would survive getting hit by a car here, child or adult.

narrow street of TLS

The view from my table one day at lunch. This is a typical street in central Toulouse.

I started the day at the marche couvert, also known as the Victor Hugo market. It’s actually inside a big parking structure. The ground floor contains the market, which is a huge space jammed with vendors of all kinds (fish, sausage, cheese, bakeries, horse meat, beef, prepared food, and cafes/bars), while the outside of the building is lined with fresh vegetable and fruit vendors. Inside on the second floor are restaurants.

inside the Victor Hugo market

Inside the market. The symbol on the floor is the Occitan regional symbol.

the foie gras shop in the Victor Hugo market

The foie gras shop (!!) at the Victor Hugo market.

piles of charcuterie!

The charcuterie stalls were truly over the top. This is just a SMALL example.

a man slicing a ham of some sort

This is how you buy your charcuterie at the market: a guy slices off some pieces for you. Those are the pig's feet in the clamps.

restaurant level view from the Victor Hugo market

I ate lunch at one of the market restaurants one day, on the second level. This was my view.

Getting there early was a good idea because it was mostly older people doing their shopping. As time wore on, the aisles clogged with looky-loos who stood gawking in annoying, traffic-jamming clumps. I’ve noticed that French women use these fun rolling carts for their shopping, much like what I recall women using in Manhattan when I went to school there. It’s a small city, so people walk everywhere.

display of rolling grocery carts at a dept store

A display of the rolling grocery carts at a Target-like store.

I made a couple of laps just to get the lay of the land and observe how the Romans do. Mostly I was trying to get breakfast for myself, but I wasn’t sure where to eat anything after I purchased it. The restaurants upstairs were still closed at 10 a.m. I noticed that people were standing at the cafe bars eating things they’d bought at other stands, so I opted for that as well. I bought some Basque cheese, a frittata, and what turned out to be lemon-flavored clotted cream from ewes (!), but which I thought was yogurt. Lesson learned. I figured I’d have a heart attack before lunch, but fortunately, that didn’t happen. It was DELICIOUS and would have been worth at least a minor myocardial disturbance.

Betty Fromagerie at Victor Hugo

Betty Fromagerie, where I got the ewe clotted cream. Truly an awesome shop, but there were several fromageries like this inside the market. And there was another Betty location across the street.

An interesting tidbit: the sign at the fromagerie where I bought the clotted cream made a big deal of the ewe cream finally arriving. So I’m guessing there’s a season for clotted cream from ewes and I was lucky enough to hit it. Yea!

At the cafe/bar, I ordered a grand creme, which is basically a latte here in the city (in the countryside, grand cremes seemed much, much stronger). I stood and ate my breakfast while watching two guys across from me split a bottle of rose for breakfast. Earlier I had noticed SEVERAL people drinking wine and beer at a few different bars, men and women. No one else seemed to think this was strange so early in the morning.

piles of nougats in different flavors

The French love their nougat, and I'm converted. These are piles of several different flavors. Help!

My next mission: a taste-off of the bazillion ice cream shops all over town. I’m pretty sure life couldn’t get any better.

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Filed under foie gras, France

La Gaveuse and Le Gavage – How Foie Gras is Made

Today we went to the local foie gras farm. GB met the farmer at the Thursday market where she sells her foie gras every week. She lives about two miles down the road from Monflanquin and gives a tour on Monday mornings. Sign us up! Of course we went.

“La gaveuse” means the woman who force-feeds the geese, or a geese/foie gras farmer, traditionally women’s work. The word comes from “gavage,” which is the process of force-feeding the geese. La gaveuse explained the entire process of raising the geese, force-feeding the geese (gavage) to enlarge their livers, and slaughtering the geese to make all manner of geese food products. We didn’t get to see any force-feeding because she does not start that process until September. There are places that are force-feeding now, in the summer months, but she prefers not to do that because that is “agribusiness” and she is doing things in the old-fashioned way (les autrefois), like grandma would. In that world, gavage occurs in the fall (fattening them up for the holidays).

In short, our gaveuse was completely awesome. I wish I had been able to understand more of her tour, but it was all too overwhelmingly fantastic, what with the geese, the farm, the foie gras, etc. Died and gone to heaven! Also there were just a lot of words in French that I’d never been exposed to.

The Man asked me if there are any politics around foie gras in France. I don’t think so. I never heard anyone mention anything about that and foie gras is everywhere in this part of France. It’s one of their traditional food products. To suggest that they shouldn’t make it would be like telling Americans they can’t make hot dogs anymore.

I understand now the difference between the small gavage operation like what I saw and the bigger agribusiness operations that GB has visited. To say that people could not raise geese using gavage on a small scale would be a bit extreme to me, now that I’ve seen the actual machine, the farm, the woman who does the gavage, and the geese. It did not look cruel to me, at least no more cruel than what we do to chickens and cows to eat them. La gaveuse had a relationship with the geese that suggested the gavage was done as humanely and quickly as possible. Also, it’s not like they fatten up the geese, cut out their livers, and throw the rest to the dog. They use every part of the animal for other products, as it should be.

Geese in front of a field of wheat

This is the contraption used for gavage. Note the pipe that goes down the throat.

This is the corn mash that is fed to the geese.

Foie gras shop at the farm.

Foie gras shop at the farm.

Foie gras products.

Foie gras products.

Duck grease in a can. MMMMM!

Duck grease in a can. MMMMM! One of the best things I ate there.

The tripod border collie, now retired from geese-herding service.

The tripod border collie, now retired from geese-herding service.

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Filed under farms, foie gras, France