We especially like slices of it served as a first course on top of a tangle of salad greens,
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, fat and sinew removed and the chicken cubed
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons white peppercorns, finely ground
1/2 cup mixed, coarsely chopped fresh herbs (preferably a combination of parsley, tarragon and thyme)
salt to taste
3 cups heavy cream
1. Cover the dried mushrooms with warm water and let stand for 1 hour. Then drain the mushrooms, straining and reserving 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid. Finely chop the porcini.
2. Grind the chicken cubes through the large blade of a meat grinder and transfer to a chilled food processor bowl.
3. Add the egg whites to the chicken, and pulse until fully incorporated. Add mushrooms, reserved mushroom liquid, nutmeg, peppercorns, herbs, and a generous amount of salt. Transfer to a chilled bowl (or place over ice) and fold in 2 cups of cream. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove mixture and add remaining cream, folding in until completely incorporated. (If cream does not completely incorporate, return the mixture to the refrigerator for another 30 to 60 minutes.)
6. To check seasoning, make a test quenelle by poaching a tablespoon of the mixture in simmering water. Make any necessary adjustments.
7. Line a 5-cup rectangular terrine dish with parchment paper that has been slightly moistened with a few drops of water. Pour the chicken mixture into the terrine and place in a large pan of hot water (the mixture should come almost to the top of the dish). Bake in the oven until paté reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow paté to cool to room temperature (about 2 hours) before unmolding and slicing.
Another type of paté -- and one that's very popular at the store -- is ultrasmooth and made from light meat, like chicken. In some versions of this style of paté, we find, the final texture is so light and mousselike as to be practically insipid. Fear not. The following version has a real meaty texture, and real chew. We especially like slices of it served as a first course on top of a tangle of salad greens, the whole dressed with a terrific homemade mayonnaise that has been thinned with a little water to the texture of a sauce. Serves 8 as a first course