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Edna Dolan’s Thanksgiving Pate

Yesterday, Julie and I were on the phone discussing the first anniversary of our mother’s death.  To read our remembrance of her, please click here. We laughed (and cried a little) deciding on our plans to remember our mom. Julie was headed to Mass and the grocery store. I was headed to Mass and the Honeybaked Ham store.  On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, our mom would have expected nothing else but for us to get up and get going.

Yesterday, I made my mother’s Thanksgiving Pate. She served it for years at our huge family Thanksgiving and the year our beloved dog Tor cleaned the plate while we played football was a Dolan family classic moment. This pate is not for the faint of heart, in either the cooking or the dishwashing departments. It’s a lot of pans and steps, but when I spooned the pate into the pans to bake, the smell of tarragon overwhelmed my sensory memory. In a bittersweet way.

I’ll serve in on Thursday, with French bread toasts and cornichons. I might sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on top from the fruits in my garden. I think my mom would have liked that touch, too.


Edna Dolan’s Thanksgiving Pate


1 pound sausage

I pound Chicken livers

I clove garlic, smashed

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 ½ tablespoons tarragon

½ cup tawny port

¼ pound mushrooms chopped

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream



Slowly brown sausage in a frying pan. Drain on paper towel. In sausage fat, sauté chicken livers with garlic and onion. Add tarragon, parsley and port. Put sausage and chicken liver mixture in food processor and mix until smooth. Saute mushrooms in butter. ( You can do this in the same pan) Add cream and bring to light boil. Mix everything together and pour into a prepared two-pound loaf pan. (Or can be lined with parchment.) Place in larger pan Add water to the larger pan until it comes 2 inches up around the loaf pan. Bake at 325 degree for one hour covered, the ½ hour uncovered. Refrigerate a day or two so the pate will solidify and reach full flavor. Serve at room temperature with think slices of French bread lightly toasted with olive oil and herbs. Cornichons a must on the side; pomegranate seeds on top optional.

Doubles nicely. Make two and freeze one for Christmas or New Years. And add more parsley and tarragon. My mom always did!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. We have much to be thankful for…


Related Posts:

The Lives They Lead: The New York Times Edna Dolan

Thanksgiving : My Turkey Before and After 

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