Dried Morel-Pheasant Paté Chaud Froid, with Black Truffle Aspic
Keyword: Black Truffle, Morels, Pheasant
Tamis Sieve, Food Processor, 4 Four Ounce Ramekins
3cupsdiced pheasant meatpreferably from thighs. This should be about 1.5 lbs. Chicken or turkey can be substituted.
Cold water as needed to cover morels for rehydrating and cleaning
Kosher saltand ground white pepper, as needed
1recipe morel chaud froid saucerecipe follows
1recipe black truffle aspicrecipe follows
4 1/16inchslices black truffle for garishingoptional
Cover the morels with cold water and the cognac, and allow to rehydrate overnight. The next day, agitate the morels in their liquid to remove dirt. If they seem very dirty, cut the morels in half and swish around in the water again to clean. Remove the re-hydrated morels, chop them, and strain their liquid. Reserve the chopped morels. Reduce the morel liquid in a wide saute pan until reduced by 90%, the liquid should be aromatic, dark, and slightly syrupy. Add the cream to the mushroom liquid and reduce by 25% over medium heat, about 10 minutes. You should end up with 1.5 cups of rich morel flavored cream.
Sweat the diced shallot in a tbsp of unsalted butter until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Cool and reserve.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pheasant or chicken thigh meat with a pinch of salt and pepper and the shallots. Pulse the mixture until the meat is broken up and starts to thicken. Turn the power on high and slowly drizzle in the morel infused cream, taking breaks to get in the machine and stir it occasionally to help it emulsify. When all the cream has been added, cook a tsp of the mixture and check it's seasoning, if more salt or pepper is needed, add a tiny bit, then cook, taste, and repeat as needed until you like it. Remember that charctuterie and sausage will become saltier as they sit, so it's ok to under-season a bit.
Preheat the oven to 325. Pass the mousse through a tamis sieve (optional) to refine it's texture. Fold the chopped, dried morels into the chicken mixture and pack into 4 oiled ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish and fill it with water until water reaches halfway up each ramekin. Cover the dish with foil and bake the pates at 350 F for 25 minutes or until hot throughout and just set. Remove the patés from the oven and chill. Unmold each pate and cut in half on the equator to make two rounds.
Put the pates on a cookie drying rack or something similar, placing a bowl underneath to catch dripping chaud froid sauce. Heat the chaud froid sauce and whisk just until just pourable, then remove it from the heat. Slowly ladle the chaud froid sauce over each paté to coat. Refrigerate the patés until the chaud froid is completely set, about two hours.
Cut the black truffle into fun shapes and press gently onto the top of each pate. Once again, put the patés on the rack with a bowl underneath to catch sauce. Gently heat the truffle aspic to melt it, just until is is pourable. Spoon tablespoons of the aspic on top of each pate to coat, using the aspic caught in the bowl and gently re-heating/melting if you run low. Once the patés are coated in aspic, chill them and reserve until needed.
When it is time to serve and eat the patés, allow them to sit out at room temperature for at least an hour. Toast four pieces of bread cut into a circle (use the ramekin to cut them and make them the same size as each paté) Serve with a green salad with a light, acidic dressing since these are very rich.
Makes two 4 ounce ramekins of pate, enough to serve 4 people as a small entree or as a small appetizer. If you don't pass the mousse through the tamis sieve that's ok, you will have double the amount of mousse, but it will be slightly course feeling in the mouth.