How do you make Foie gras torchon? Classically this tedious process doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can do this at home and here is how!
Foie gras torchon, do I need to say anymore? I know there is a lot of controversy over this wonderful ingredient but I am sure glad it is not against the law in Texas to serve it.
I know it is an acquired taste for some, I also know some like it only served warm, some like pate, and others like myself will take it anyway it comes to the table. Torchon in french simply means "wrapped in a towel".
Now traditionally this process, normally takes 3 days or longer depending on your steps to prepare. Thomas Keller from the French Laundry cookbook soaks his in milk overnight.
Normally you soak liver in milk to draw out the blood and minerally flavor. I have always used a little different method of doing pate by curing the foie gras one day, then cooking in a terrine mold or torchon at low temperature, and then the weighing it down or hanging it for several hours.
This recipe takes about 2 days total from start to finish (if you are really pushing it you could probably do it in about 1 1/2 days. I have never soaked the foie in milk prior to curing but I'm certainly not disputing that step, I simply have never done it.
This process is actually really easy. Don’t be imitated at all by this new ingredient for you. You have to think of foie gras like butter. When its cold its hard, when it sits out its soft, and when it cooks it can melt. Like butter it can be molded and emulsified. The only trick to making this perfect is getting all the blood vein out of the foie gras.
Foie Gras Torchon with Pineapple Jalapeno Jam
- 1 whole foie gras (( 1lb 1oz or 480g))
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp sauternes wine (or other sweet wine)
Pineapple Jalapeno Jam
- 1 cup pineapple (crushed or mashed)
- 1 small jalapeno (cut in half)
- 1 whole lemon (juiced)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp pectin (powder)
- pinch salt
How to clean and cure foie gras
Place foie gras on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and allow to come to room temperature. Once the foie gras is not so cold it will start to become more pliable. This is when you clean the foie gras of all the blood veins trying to touch it as little as possible because the heat from your hands will melt the foie gras. (gloves and a paring knife helps with this)
Follow the vein lines in the foie gras and remove any veins or extra fat or sinew, if you can’t find the blood veins just starting cutting into the foie gras all over you will start to see them. Don’t worry about messing up the foie gras, remember its butter and you going to reform it later. The more you cut it up the more veins you will fine. You must have the foie gras completely cleaned of veins to have a clean finished torchon or pate.
Once you have removed all the veins season the foie gras mix salt and sugar together in a bowl aggressively season the foie gras with the mixture making sure that every inch gets seasoned. You might not use all mix but be aggressive with it. Mix well using your hands (in gloves) so everything is well incorporated.
To wrap the foie gras take two long pieces of plastic wrap and overlap them. Then place the foie gras an inch from the bottom of the plastic wrap making a cylinder type shape.. Using the plastic wrap you roll the foie, using the techniques of pinching the sides and holding the foie gras in one hand and pulling the top of the plastic in the other hand (think sushi roll using the bamboo mat). You want to try and roll it as tight as you can.
Once you have roll it up as tight as you can, take a toothpick or cake tester and poke a few holes in the plastic for air bubbles to escape. Then take the two ends of the roll, pick the torchon up in the air and swing the torchon or twist the foie gras roll (torchon) so that it will become even tighter. The air will get pushed out and your torchon should become a little fatter from the ends becoming tighter. It should resemble a cylinder at this point.
Tie both ends of the plastic wrap with butcher’s twine. Place the torchon into a cryovac back and seal airtight. if you don’t have a cryovac use a ziplock and try to get all the air out and seal. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
How to cook the foie gras
After the 24 hours have passed, set your sous vide machine or pot of water to 140 degrees. Meanwhile get a large bowl of ice water ready. Take the foie gras torchon out of the refrigerator and place into the sous vide. Sous vide for 10 minutes. At that point pull the foie gras out of the water bath and shocked it in the ice bath. After about 2 minutes in the bath, take the foie gras out of the cryovac bag.
To make things really easy you can pour all the foie gras and melted fat into a bowl (or food processor) and using a hand stick blender puree the foie gras for 1 minute (or food processor). It should look a little something like tan soup, this step is re-emulsifying the cooked and melted foie gras. Once you have your emulsified foie gras you know can put this pate into any mold you want.
If you have ring molds (square, round, triangle, silicon, if you use silicon you will need to freeze the foie gras so you can cleanly remove it from the molds.) you could fill each ring mold with the foie gras, once it cools in the refrigerator for about an hour or two, it will be the classic torchon foie gras pate. Once you’ve molded it and you don’t plan on using it in the next day or so make sure to keep it in a cryovac bag to prevent oxidation, and it is fine to freeze at this point as well.
Now traditionally you would take cheesecloth and rewrapped the torchon in the cheesecloth, leaving the original plastic wrap on. Poke a few more holes in the plastic and tie the ends of the cheesecloth in the same way you tied the plastic. On one end of the cheesecloth leave the string really long because this is what you use to tie the foie gras torchon up with in the refrigerator.
So then you tie the torchon from one end on whatever you can find in your refrigerator (rail, bar, rack, or grate). Hanging the torchon allows gravity to take the natural weight and force it down into a very compact roll. This is crucial to having a tight torchon along with making tiny holes in the plastic so air can escape.
Let it hang over night and by lunch (or breakfast) the next day you have one of the best tasting foie gras torchons you have ever tasted.
How to make pineapple jalapeno jam
In medium size pot add pineapple, lemon juice, water, jalapeno, and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes and then stir in the pectin powder. Stir constantly for another minute or two and then turn off the heat. You can simply allow the jam to cool in a bowl or jar. Once the jam has cooled completely you can serve and enjoy with foie a little fleur de sel and brioche!