Pate de Campagne with Walnuts

Makes 10 first course portions, 20 cocktail portions

2 pounds fresh pork fat, ground
¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 pound ground lean veal
1 pound ground lean pork shoulder
1 ¾ tablespoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¾ to 1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
½ to 1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
3 juniper berries, crushed
½ cup Cognac
¼ cup Madeira wine
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ pound beef liver, cut into ½-inch dice
1 cup shelled walnuts
1 pound thinly sliced fresh pork fat, to line loaf pan
2 bay leaves
3 whole juniper berries


1. Melt 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pork fat in a medium-size skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the onions.
2. Combine the ground veal, ground pork, remaining ground pork fat, coarse salt, pepper, thyme, allspice, tarragon, oregano, garlic, crushed juniper berries, Cognac, Madeira, eggs, and the onions in a bowl. Blend thoroughly without overworking the mixture. (Do not add the liver yet.) To test for seasoning, sauté over medium heat, cool, and taste a small patty of the mixture. Correct all seasoning.
3. Fold in the diced beef liver and walnuts.
4. Preheat the oven to 3500 F. Bring a large heavy pot of water to a boil.
5. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 ½ x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan with the sheets of pork fat, letting some hang over the sides. Pack the meat mixture into the pan, pressing so that no air pockets remain. The top should mound up slightly. Top with 2 bay leaves and 3 whole juniper berries. Cover with the overhanging edges of the lining fat, then with a sheet of pork fat cut to fit, then with aluminum foil. Press the foil snugly onto the edges of the pan to be sure that the pate is completely enclosed.
6. Set the loaf pan in a larger pan and place in the lower third of the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the outer pan to come halfway up the sides of the inner pan. Bake for 2 ½ hours. The pate is done when it shrinks from the sides of the pan and the juices run a clear yellow; you can check this by uncovering the pate and pressing a spoon on top. If it isn't done, re-cover, and bake 30 minutes more.
7. When the pate is done, remove the loaf pan from the boiling water bath, or pour the water from the outer pan. The loaf must now be weighted for several hours; this is done to force out the interior fat and compress the meat so it will slice evenly. To weight the pate, place another loaf pan or a board of suitable size on top of the pate. Put 2 bricks or an equivalent weight of heavy canned goods in the pan or on the board. Let cool, then refrigerate without the weights.
8. When the pate has been chilled thoroughly, remove it from the loaf pan. Remove the fat around it, wrap the loaf in plastic wrap, and return it to the refrigerator; or let it warm slightly at room temperature, then serve. The flavor is enhanced after 1 or 2 days of refrigeration. Let the pate come to near-room temperature before serving.