Ila Douglas's Corton Pate


Serve this creamy pork pate from Molly O'Neill's "One Big Table" cookbook as an appetizer at holiday dinners, or package in a festive jar for an elegant hostess gift.


  • 3 pound pork belly or pork butt, rind discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • Coarse salt

  • 6 whole black peppercorns

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 1 bay leaf

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 pound rendered leaf lard

  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice


  1. Place pork in a Dutch oven and add enough cold water to cover. Add half the onion, 1 tablespoon salt, peppercorns, whole cloves, bay leaf, and thyme; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until pork is tender, about 3 hours. Remove from heat and let pork cool to room temperature in the liquid.

  2. Meanwhile, melt lard in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour off and reserve all but two tablespoons fat from saucepan.

  3. Return saucepan to medium heat and add remaining one-half onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer onion to a large bowl.

  4. Transfer pork to a large bowl with onion. Pour cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside. Add cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and allspice to bowl with onion and pork and using a hand-cranked meat grinder or food processor, grind or pulse pork mixture.

  5. Add reserved melted lard and broth as needed to make mixture a spreadable consistency; season with salt and pepper. Transfer pate to a crock pot or bowl, pour 1/4-inch layer of reserved pork fat over top, and refrigerate 3 days before serving.


Cook's Notes

Refrigerate 3 days before serving.

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