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How to Make Forcemeats

How to Make Forcemeats

Each type of forcemeat results in a different texture once cooked. Let to right, top to bottom: straight fourcemeat, country-style forcemeat, gratin fourcemeat, mousseline fourcemeat (photo, CIA)

Culinary Institute of America

Secondary binders

The proteins in meats and fish are the basic source of the forcemeat’s structure, texture, and bind. In some special cases, however, you may need to add a secondary binder, which is generally required for country-style and gratin forcemeats. There are three basic types of secondary binders: eggs, nonfat dry milk powder, and panadas. Panadas are made from starchy (farinaceous) items—well-cooked, puréed rice or potatoes, bread soaked in milk, or pâte à choux, which is a dough made from flour, water, butter, and eggs.

Garnish ingredients

Garnishes give the chef an opportunity to add color, flavor, and texture to a basic formula. Some traditional garnishes include the poultry breast, pork, beef, veal, or lamb tenderloin portions, nuts (especially pistachios and pine nuts), mushrooms, truffles, and diced foie gras. The quantity of garnish added to a forcemeat can range from a few chopped nuts scattered throughout a pâté to a terrine in which there is a predominant garnish bound together with a small amount of forcemeat or aspic. You can add garnishes to a forcemeat in two ways. They can be simply folded into the forcemeat; in that case they are known as internal or random garnishes.

The second means of introducing the garnish is to place it in the forcemeat as you are filling the mold or laying it out for a roulade or galantine. These garnishes are known as inlays, though you may also hear them called centered garnishes.

Care should be taken to shape and place the garnish so that each slice will have a uniform, consistent appearance, whether the slice comes from the end or center of the pâté.

If you are preparing forcemeat items for display or competition, you may want to dust garnish items very lightly with a bit of powdered gelatin or albumen (dried and powdered egg whites) or a combination of these two items, to glue them into place. This will improve the adherence of the forcemeat to the garnish, making it less likely that they will separate when the item is cut into slices.