Duck Liver Pate

ducks by pool2

If you’ve read my other blog posts, you know that I had ducks.  Well, they are no more.  We chopped off their heads, plucked their feathers, took out their intestines and put them in the freezer.  And I’m not just saying that to shock you…

Mostly it’s to prove a point.

ducks with bowl

So many of us are uncomfortable around the subject of meat.  Not about eating it, mind you.

We’re in denial about what has to happen so that we can eat meat, which by the way, was cute ducks and nice pigs and amazing cows – some pretty incredible animals that you would love if you raised them.

We raised them, we loved them, and now they are meat for us.

People (mostly meat-eaters) say, ‘Oh, I could never do that’.  And, ‘If you love your animals, how can you kill them?’.

I can understand not wanting to do the dirty work.  It’s a job that takes guts and an ease around blood and guts.  But, who can you trust this job to?  I want my meat to be from animals who had a decent, no, a great life.  It’s hard to find meat like that.

ducks on counter

For 10 years I was a vegetarian because I didn’t like the way that animals were treated.  I couldn’t condone the cruelty and suffering that went on in factory farms.  I’m a carnivore now but I’m attempting to take responsibility for it by raising (and slaughtering) my own meat.

Even among the messiness and inconvenience of death and wing feathers, it feels like the right thing, the ‘natural’ thing to do.  Barbara Kingsolver calls it ‘harvesting’.  We’re harvesting the ducks in the same way we’d harvest a crop.  We are treating all living things with dignity and respect and we are choosing to see the process through.

Our ducks lived the good life.  They lounged by the pool.  They splashed around with glee.  They ate fresh greens – wild and from the garden.  They napped and drank water frequently, enthusiastically.  They spent their days together and waddled up the ramp to their house when it got dark.

ducks in pool

Now the backyard is quiet, a little desolate without my sweet quackers.

ducks by pool

People think it’s cruel, or unfeeling to talk about my duck pals and pate in the same breath.  Doesn’t that show how disassociated we are with our food?

I think it’s ok.  I enjoyed my ducks, they enjoyed their life and now I’ll have my pate.

toast tulip

Duck Liver Pate

2 Tablespoons butter
2 shallots, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons thyme, chopped fine
3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
100 g bacon, cut up small
200 g fresh duck livers and hearts, cut up
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tablespoons cream
2 Tablespoons butter

Heat butter in medium fry pan.
Add shallots, garlic, thyme and parsley and fry 2-3 minutes.
Add bacon and fry 5 more minutes, stirring.
Put mixture in food processor leaving behind some bacon fat in pan.

Put pan back on heat and add duck livers and hearts.  Sprinkle with salt and fry 4 minutes (does not have to be cooked through).
Add to food processor.

Deglaze the pan with red wine.  Let it boil down for 2 minutes, then add to food processor with cream and butter.

Refrigerate for a few hours before eating.

pate on plate

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3 thoughts on “Duck Liver Pate

  1. Nina, when I was vegetarian for so many years, I used to also say that I would eat meat if I could face killing it. Now I eat meat, and I’m still a big (pardon the pun) chicken. We are totally disconnected from the death that is involved in order for us to eat what we do. As long as it tastes good, no one questions the process or chooses to think of the miserable life and the miserable death their supper had.
    When I was milking cows on the farm, it felt good to have this natural exchange, this give and take with an animal. I took good care of those cows~ sacrificied sleep for those cows~ and as I rested my weary head so many morning on the side of their thick warm bodies as my hands repeated the motion of milking, I developed a relationship with those cows. Before I went to the farm, I was even “against” this using of animals for our benefit. I was a drinker of soy or rice milk, and thought I would hate this milking of cows and the product it brought. But my thinking changed throughout this process, and I really came to see things as a natural exchange.
    It’s easy to go to the store and buy products that seem to fit your moral code, but what you did, that is truley living up to your convictions, and I hope the pate tastes all the better for it!

  2. It does feel good to be close to animals! And it is interesting that we feel better about eating them or their products through having that exchange.

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