Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pate Chaud

I accidentally bought some ground beef the other day.  You know how it is, that ground beef just takes a tumble into the shopping cart and before you know it, you've paid for it.  At this point, there are very few options...
a) spaghetti and meatballs. again.
b) unseasoned hamburgers on the Foreman Grill.  Oh wait, that was the first time that Mike invited me over to his apartment (6 years ago!). And was it just my imagination or did he not season the meat at all before cooking it?
c) leave it in the freezer until it is frostbitten and turns tan
d) drum. roll.  PATE CHAUD!

Banh Pate Chaud is a Vietnamese meat pie with a French name.  I've always thought of it as a delicacy that can only be found after driving 5 hrs (DC) or flying 5 hrs (LA) to a Vietnamese bakery.  I've also never eaten more than 1 in a sitting because I had to share them and/or ration them over a few days because they are so precious.

3/4 lb ground beef, 2 small onions, 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup mushrooms, and 1/2 T ground pepper later...

Oh, and 2 TBSP of fish sauce, too. Don't be scared!

While the pastry shells (I used Pepperridge Farm) were in the 1st phase of baking, I sauteed the beef mixture to brown it a little and minimize food poisoning risk (or so I was hoping).

Note to self: opening the oven frequently, especially to take photos inside, causes the shells to rise suboptimally!

Yummy as lunch, accompanied by J.Crew catalogue.

Here's the recipe!

3/4 lb ground meat (chicken or pork or combinations work well)
2 small onions, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1/4 c woodear mushrooms

Thaw frozen puff pastries. Then pre-bake in oven for about 20 minutes until they rise but before they turn golden. Using a fork, scoop out the soft pastry inside. 
Meanwhile, combine ingredients above to make filling. Sautee until meat is browned.
Fill pastries generously, then replace tops.
Make an egg wash (I beat 1 egg) and brush the tops of pastries.
Bake for 15-20 more minutes until golden brown.

Yield: 18 puff pastries

Thoughts for next time:
I will probably use pastry sheets, rather then the shells. With the sheets, I can cut them to size, then fill them with the raw meat mixture without having to pre-bake them. Thus, I can freeze them in their raw, unbaked state and bake a few at a time when I am ready for a pate chaud feast.

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