by Patrick O’Connell

Book Photo093

At his glorious inn in Virginia, Patrick O’Connell incorporates Southern ingredients into his French-inspired cooking. The blackberries, cornmeal, and country ham in this dish evoke some of the traditional flavors of the South. Although foie gras is not a Southern staple, the combination of flavors and textures produces a sophisticated appetizer redolent of Southern hospitality.

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Blackberry Sauce

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter. Add the shallots, bay leaf, and 1 pint of the blackberries. Sweat over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the water, cassis, currant jelly, and stock. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes or until the sauce is the consistency of a light syrup. Remove from the heat, add the thyme leaves and fresh pepper, and set aside, off the heat, for 10 minutes. When cool, strain the sauce. Reserve.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 bay leaf
1 1/2 pints fresh blackberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cassis liquer
2 tablespoons currant jelly
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
Black pepper, freshly ground

In a 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the garlic, and bay leaf, and sweat over low heat for 30 seconds. Add the water, milk, and cream, and bring to a simmer. Remove the bay leaf. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornmeal in a steady stream. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the polenta begins to thicken. Whisk in the cheese and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Line a half sheet pan with plastic wrap and pour the polenta onto the pan. Cover the polenta with plastic wrap and flatten to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then remove and cut into 2-inch squares. Heat the remaining olive oil in a saute pan and cook the squares of polenta until both sides are golden brown. Reserve and keep warm.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
1 milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese
Corse salt
Cayenne pepper

Foie Gras
Season each slice of foie gras with salt and pepper. Heat a saute pan over high heat and sear the foie gras for about 30 seconds on each side, or just until a brown crust forms. Remove the slices from the pan and blot on paper towels. Pour off excess fat from the pan and deglaze with 1/2 cup of the black-perry sauce. Stir this misture back into the sauce, and gently add the remaining pint of blackberries.
1 1/2 pounds foie gras, cut into 8 slices, each about 3 ounces and 1/2-inch thick
Coarse salt
Black pepper, freshly ground

2 cups mixed colorful baby lettuces or greens
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
8 very thin slices country ham, trimmed of fat (see Chef Notes)
Fresh chives

Service and Garnish
Toss the greens in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place a small bouquet of dressed greens in the center of each of eight warmed serving plates. On top of the greens, place two squares of the crispy polenta. On top of the polenta place a slice of the country ham. On top of the ham, place piece of seared foie gras. Sppon the sauce and the blackberries over the foie gras, and garnish with chives.

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by Bill Telepan

Book Photo081

One of the secrets to the succulence of Bill Telepan’s foie gras terrine is that he only cooks the foie gras to an internal temperature of 100 degrees. Although the terrine continues to cook somewhat once it is removed from the oven, the gentle heat gives it a delicate texture and a delicious, rich flavor. Bill’s creativity is evident in the accompaniments, which highlight the dish’s strong, earthy tones.

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1 foie gras, about 1 pound 2 ounces, cleaned for low-heat cooking
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch white pepper
Pinch sugar
1/4 cup Sauternes

Season the foie gras with the salt, pepper, and sugar. Line a shallow bowl with plastic wrap. Drizzle half the Sauternes in the bowl, add the foie gras, and drizzle with the remaining Sauternes. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Let the foie gras stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Pack the foie gras into the terrine mold, pressing well to make sure there are no air pockets. Wrap the entire mold in two layer of plastic wrap and place in a larger baking dish. Fill the dish with warm water to come two-thirds up the sides of the terrine. Cook the terrine in the oven, in the water bath, until the internal temperature reaches 10 0degrees, about 30-40 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap from the terrine. Carefully pour off the fat from the top of the terrine, reserving it in a separate container. Cut a piece of cardboard that will fit exactly into the inside of the mold. Wrap the cardboard in plastic wrap and place on top of the terrine. Press gently to remove all the air bubbles. Set a wood block or second terrine on top to weigh down the liver.  Pour off an excess fat. Pour some of the reserved fat over the terrine; use just enough to seal the foie gras completely so that no liver is exposed to air. Let sit for 24 to 48 hours before serving.

Sauternes-Onion Marmalade
2 medium onions
2 ounces butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup Sauternes

Slice the onions paper thin using a mandoline. Melt the butter in a saucepan set over low heat. Add the onions and salt and cover the pan. Cook until very tender, 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain the onions through a chinois, pressing firmly to remove all excess butter. Place the strained onions back in the pan, add the Sauternes, and simmer until the onions are a syrupy consistency. Add more salt if necessary.

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
Coarse salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup hazelnut oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the hazelnut oil to create an emulsion. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and set aside.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
1 cup cooked black-eyed peas
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
Vinaigrette (from above)
Coarse salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
1 ounce baby greens

Warm the black-eyed peas slightly. In a bowl, combine the peas, shallots, chives, and 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Place the baby greens in a separate bowl, add the remaining vinaigrette, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, peeled, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon chives, chopped

Service and Garnish
Slice the terrine into six or twelve slices; place one or two slices in the center of each of six plates. Place a spoonful of marmalade to the right of the terrine, a spoonful of peas to the left, and the baby greens above. Sprinkle the plates with the hazelnuts and chives.

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