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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

Straight forcemeat

This basic forcemeat is used to prepare pâtés, terrines, and galantines. It is generally made by grinding the meat and fat through a medium plate, then further processing it in a mixer or food processor.

Process the ground meat with any additional ingredients. An egg may be added to the forcemeat to give a better bind. A quantity of heavy cream may also be included in some recipes to give the forcemeat a smooth texture and a richer flavor, if desired.

Once the forcemeat is tested and any adjustments to seasoning or consistency have been made, you may add garnish ingredients. This may be done in the mixer or by hand, working over an ice bath to keep the forcemeat properly chilled.

Straight forcemeats may be used to fill a pâté en croûte, or to prepare terrines and galantines.

Country-style forcemeat

Country-style forcemeats are less refined in texture and heartier in flavor than others and are traditionally made from pork and pork liver.

The texture of this forcemeat is achieved by grinding the pork through a coarse die, then reserving most of this coarse grind. If desired, a portion of the ground meat may be ground again through a medium die before the forcemeat is blended with its panada and processed as for a straight forcemeat.

The coarsely ground meat as well as the processed forcemeat is then combined. Because at least part of the forcemeat is left as a coarse grind, a panada is almost always included to help the finished product hold together after cooking.

Gratin forcemeat

A gratin forcemeat is similar to a straight forcemeat, with the exception of the way in which the main meat is handled. The meat is very quickly seared—just enough to enhance the flavor and color, but not enough to cook it through. The meat is changed enough by the searing that a panada is required to help produce the desired texture.

The first step is to sear the meat. Get the pan or grill very hot, sear the meat on all sides as quickly as possible, and just as quickly cool it down.

The best way to accomplish this is to work in small batches and to avoid crowding the meat in the pan. Remove it to a sheet pan, and cool it quickly in the refrigerator or freezer. An optional step is to prepare an aromatic reduction to flavor the forcemeat.

Follow the same procedure for grinding as for a straight forcemeat, and process it with a panada and any additional ingredients as suggested or required by the recipe. Be sure to test the forcemeat properly before continuing to add the garnish ingredients.

Gratin forcemeats can be used in the same general applications as straight forcemeats.

For more about types of fourcemat, continue to the next page—>