Foie Gras

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Foie gras is liver. There’s just no getting around this fact. It means “fat liver.” And it’s usually from a goose. And often, from a goose that has been force-fed to create an even fattier liver before it goes to goose heaven. Which is why the PETA’s of the world are against the mere existence of foie gras. There is quite a controversy regarding whether the geese are suffering or not. I love animals, and it’s really not pleasant to think about. But I can’t think about any animal getting stressed or hurt for my gourmande-like tendencies. I just can’t. Then, I would be a vegan.

Here’s a photo of a postcard I received a million years ago. I wonder if these have been banned…

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There are foie gras farmers who are coming up with better ideas to create the fattier livers, through their diets, without the forced feeding, and I applaud them.

Sometimes there’s confusion between foie gras and liver pâté. Foie gras is the actual liver. You buy it in lobes, like in the photo below, then slice and cook. You don’t mess with it – it’s perfect as is.

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Pâté is made with liver. It includes butter, cognac and a few aromatics, then it’s puréed until smooth, see pâté in a future post. To add to the confusion, it’s sometimes called foie gras pâté. Why? Because Foie Gras sounds much nicer than liver. But, if it’s pâté, it’s the smooth, delicious liver pâté that is spread on toast points, usually made from chicken liver.

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The above two photos are from the D’Artagnan website. If you want to purchase great meats and gourmet food products, look into http://www.dartagnan.com. It’s the only place I’ll order my foie gras. A French woman named Ariane Daguin started the company over 25 years ago just selling foie gras, and it has grown. Check out what D’Artagnan sells now.

Ariane published a book in 1999, called “D’Artagnan’s Glorious Game Cookbook.” Everything from venison, ostrich, buffalo, rabbit, duck, goose, turkey, and exotic game birds are covered in the book, as well as sausages, charcuterie, and foie gras. I highly recommend it!

So why eat foie gras? Well, if I eat it at all, I get a little bit around the holidays and treat myself. Alas, I am the only one in my family who enjoys it. That’s ok; more for me.

The best way to eat foie gras is in slices, seared in a little butter, then topped with a fruit glaze or syrup – often cherry or apple-based. The liver and the fruit balance perfectly. And that’s what I’m going to do today. Why mess with perfection?!!!

Foie Gras served with a Potato Pancake, Sautéed Maple Apple Slices and topped with a Cherry-Apple Glaze

Potato Pancakes:

2 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
2 small russet potatoes
1/2 cup flour
Duck fat

Break two eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cream, salt, and garlic powder. Whisk until smooth. Coarsely grate the potatoes, then stir into the egg-cream mixture. Carefully stir in the flour until completely combined.

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Heat some duck fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, place spoonfulls of potato batter in the skillet – either 2 or 3, depending how they will fit. Make them fairly small, since they will be served with the small sliced of foie gras. Cook for about one minute.

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As soon as they have browned, turn the pancakes over, then turn down the heat. Let them cook 2-3 minutes at this lower temperature, so the insides have cooked through, but the outsides are browned and crispy. Place the pancakes on a plate and continue with the remaining batter.

Cherry-Apple Glaze

12 grapes, seedless
1/4 cup tawny port
1/4 cup boiled cider
3 tablespoons cherry syrup
1 teaspoon veal demi-glace

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In a small blender, blend the grapes until smooth. Strain the mixture through a small sieve over a small saucepan. To the strained mixture, add the remaining ingredients plus 1/4 cup of water.

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Place the pan on the stove over medium heat, whisking the mixture until smooth. When it boils, turn down the heat all the way, and let the mixture reduce. It might take about 45 minutes; don’t leave the kitchen!!!

When it has reached a syrupy stage, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside. you should have about 1/4 cup of syrup. You can make this more sweet, if you prefer, but there should still be a demi-glace factor in it. For more info on demi-glace, check out demi-glace.

note: If you don’t have boiled cider, substitute 1/2 cup apple cider, but the mixture will take longer to reduce. If you don’t have a bottle of cherry syrup, use the syrup from a jar of Grillotines; the Kirsch will cook off.

Sautéed Maple Apples

2 tablespoons butter
1 apple, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet. Add the apple slices, about half of them, and sauté until slightly caramelized. Place these on a plate, then continue with remaining butter and apple slices.

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When the second batch has browned, return the first batch of apple slices to the skillet and pour in the maple syrup. Cook the apples over medium heat, about 2 minutes, until they are caramelized. Set the skillet aside to prepare the foie gras.

Foie Gras

Duck fat
Salt, pepper
4 slices foie gras, averaging about 1/2 ” thick

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Heat a litte duck fat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the foie gras slices. It seems strange to do this, but treat them like little steaks. When the skillet is ready, add two of the slices and cook for about one minute; they should be nicely seared. Turn them over, turn down the heat, and cook about two minutes maximum. You do not want to overcook them. Remove them from the skillet, add some more duck fat, turn up the heat, an continue cooking the last two slices.

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To serve the foie gras as a first course:

Place a warm potato pancake on each of four small plates. Add the just cooked foie gras, top with the sautéed apples, then drizzle a little of the cherry-apple syrup over the top. Enjoy!!! I know I did!

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17 thoughts on “Foie Gras

  1. Thank you for writing this post! Eating foie gras is so controversial these days one hardly dare mention liking it. But it is the most sublime food … would always be on my ‘perfect menu’ … especially freshly cooked as you have here and in good French restaurants – foie gras du maison. I’m pleased to hear farmers are working on better ways of feeding the geese though.

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  2. I adore foie gras…..but I do agree with you in that I don’t like to think about the force feeding. But then again, I can’t stop eating it. I guess I will have to go to hell…..but happy! ;)

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  3. Hi Mimi. Thanks for the ‘like’ on my post of a much cheaper treat; that’s the only problem with foie gras – it costs a lot of money. Good point about swallowing whole fish. I guess if you like foie gras you must follow myfrenchheaven, where it has been featured at least once.

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