Home-made terrine of foie gras

Home-made terrine of foie gras
Preparing your own home-made foie gras from raw is immensively satisfying: good quality liver and a simply amazing flavour – much better than anything you can buy.

This recipe is a bit tricky, but quite within everyone's grasp, as long as you follow the 3 most delicate stages carefully. These are, in order: de-veining the liver, seasoning and cooking.

As usual, I have explained every stage of the recipe in full, with photos to help you.
5.2M 6 1,733 4.6
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Last modified on: December 17th 2023

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For 1 foie gras, you will need:

Change these quantities to make: 1 foie gras 2 foies gras 3 foies gras
How long does it take?
Time required for this recipe:
PreparationRestingCookingStart to finish
4 days 12 hours 38 min.2 hours 32 min.40 min.4 days 15 hours 50 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 2 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras


Take the liver out of the fridge at least two hours beforehand, so it will be at room temperature and soft.

Rinse it thoroughly under warm water to eliminate any remaining traces of blood, then dry it with absorbant paper.

Stage 2
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Pull the two lobes apart gently.

Stage 3 - 20 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Pull the veins carefully towards you and remove them, without breaking or cutting, by passing your fingers underneath and following them right to the end.

This is the first tricky stage of the recipe. Your hands will get very greasy (to be expected with a foie gras, you might say), and you should not leave any veins, or as few as possible.

Stage 4 - 1 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
You might feel more comfortable working in fine rubber (surgical) gloves.

I recommend using a vegetable peeler as the point does the job quite well.

Another tip: have a bowl or a large cup in front of you and scrape the sticky veins off the blade into this as you work.

Stage 5 - 1 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Once done, don't worry about the forlorn look of the liver, it's past caring!

Stage 6 - 30 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
To remove any traces of blood, put the liver in cold water with a tablepoonful of coarse salt and some ice cubes added, for half an hour.

Then rinse the liver under running cold water and dry on absorbant paper.

Stage 7 - 1 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Line a wide oven-proof (gratin) dish with cooking-grade plastic film.

This is not essential, it just makes cleaning the dish afterwards much easier.

Stage 8 - 2 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Spread the liver out in the dish in a single layer, as far as possible.

Stage 9 - 2 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras


Start by adding the alcohol. Trickle a few shlurps of Armagnac and Porto over the liver.

You only need a little, otherwise the flavour of the booze will dominate over that of the liver, which is a shame.

Note: Prefer white alcohols instead of red ones, because red ones turn liver to grey when cooking.

Stage 10 - 4 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Weigh and mix the seasonings: salt, pepper, sugar and "quatre épices" spice blend (see below*). Do calculate these quantities carefully and respect the following proportions:7 g salt and 2 g pepper for 600 g liver.

The best way to do this is by using precise scales, but you can also measure them: 1 level teaspoon = 5 g of fine salt or 2.5 g of ground pepper (or near enough).

This is the second tricky stage of the recipe. It is important to use the right quantity of salt for the weight of liver. To help you, here is a little automatic calculator.

Stage 11 - 2 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
After weighing the correct amounts, mix the seasonings and scatter the mixture over the liver.

To spread them more evenly, scatter half, then turn the pieces of liver before adding the other half.

Stage 12 - 12 hours
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Cover the seasoned liver in its dish with a plastic film and refrigerate overnight.

Please note: the liver's maturing time in the fridge is important for the flavour. If you don't do this, it will still be good, but not quite as good as if left overnight.

Stage 13 - 2 hours
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Next day, the liver is ready to be cooked. Take out of the fridge and remove the plastic film at least 2 hours before cooking.

Stage 14
Home-made terrine of foie gras


It must be recognized, cooking is THE difficulty of preparing the liver, it must reach a certain temperature at heart, 158°F (70°C) for example, and this temperature must be reached gently, otherwise the liver melts and loses all its fat.

I suggest 2 cooking methods, the classic bain-marie terrine cooking, called "De Françoise", and especially cooking called "flat" ":

Stage 15 - 40 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
1) "Flat" cooking

Preheat the oven to 210°F (100°C), preferably without fan - quite unnecessary at such a low temperature.

Stick a thermometer into the thickest part of the liver and put in the oven.

If you'd like to keep the liver "pink", cook until the temperature reaches 122°F (50°C). For "mi-cuit" (just properly cooked, but not overdone), cook until it reaches 149°F (65°C).

If you don't have a thermometer, count 30 minutes cooking for "pink" and 45/50 minutes for "mi-cuit". Unfortunately, these times can only be approximate as your oven and the room temperature will have a marked effect on the cooking. In other words, as soon as you can, buy yourself a thermometer.

Stage 16
Home-made terrine of foie gras
After cooking, the liver looks unattractive swimming in its fat and cooking juices, but don't worry, this is perfectly normal.

Stage 17
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Now it's time to pack the terrine with the pieces of liver.

Use a skimmer to fish the pieces of liver out of the dish, drain them...

Stage 18 - 5 min.
Home-made terrine of foie gras
...and transfer to the terrine.

If you intend turning out the terrine later, choose the best-looking and largest pieces first to go in the bottom and finish up with the smaller ones (as in the photo).

Stage 19
Home-made terrine of foie gras
If, on the other hand, you will be serving the terrine straight from the dish, save the best pieces until last (like in this photo).

This cooking method, inspired by chef Eric Leautey, is very efficient as the centre of the liver gets up to temperature more rapidly when it is in a thin layer. This is the method I use for years.

Stage 20
Home-made terrine of foie gras
2) "De Françoise"

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

Roughly reconstitute the liver in the terrine, placing the pieces on top of each other.

Stage 21
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Place the terrine in a baking dish that you fill 3/4 of boiling water.

Stage 22
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Put the dish in the oven and let the liver cook for 50 minutes uncovered, checking regularly with a thermometer that the water temperature is 158 ° F (70 ° C):

- If the temperature rises too much add half a glass of cold water
- If it goes down too much increase the temperature of the oven a little and pour a little boiling water in the dish (it is good to have a small pot of water on the fire handy throughout cooking).

Stage 23
Home-made terrine of foie gras
At the end of this time, remove the terrine from the oven and pour the liquids contained (fat and cooking juices) into a container, retaining the liver with a skimmer.

Your "De Françoise" terrine cooking is finished.

Stage 24
Home-made terrine of foie gras
Finish the terrine by pouring over a little of the molten fat from the cooking dish.

Stage 25
Home-made terrine of foie gras
This is not just an attractive finishing touch; once set, it will help the terrine keep better.

Stage 26
Home-made terrine of foie gras
The final stage is to compact the terrine a little. I use a block of polystyrene cut to fit the shape of the dish (but a piece of thick cardboard would do just as well), covered with aluminium foil. I place this on top of the contents of the terrine and stand two jars of jam on top. The weight of the full jars is enough to press the terrine.

Leave to cool for 2 hours at room temperature, then refigerate.

Stage 27 - 4 days
Home-made terrine of foie gras
The "press" contraption can be removed after a couple of hours in the fridge.

Your terrine should be left for at least 4 days in the fridge before eating, to give time for the flavour to mature fully.

Stage 28
Home-made terrine of foie gras

The service

Serve your foie gras either by removing the terrine from the mold (immerse the bottom for a few seconds in hot water to facilitate demoulding) and turning it over on a serving dish to cut slices, as on this photo.

Or, without removing it from the mold, by cutting slices in the bowl directly to the taste of the guests.

In all cases, take the bowl out of the fridge 10 minutes before serving , so that it is not too cold during the tasting.
If you want a more natural taste, more pure foie gras, you can reduce the alcohol in this recipe to just one tablespoonful (or omit).

Again on the subject of alcohol, there is no need to be strict on the type or their number. Cognac and Armagnac are much the same (for the purposes of this recipe, at least); the same goes for sherry and port, or other fortified wines like Marsala, Maury, Madeira, etc.

For bread which goes best with foie gras, resist the temptation to use sliced industrial bread, or even worse brioche or other rich sweet bread (too soft, too sweet, too similar to foie gras). Better to use a more acidic, rustic bread like a classic "pain de campagne". For me, the best of all will always be a leaven-raised bread.

If you are worried about tackling this recipe, you can start with the easier method in terrine of foie gras.

If, like me, you are a foie gras aficionado but have a problem with the tradition of force-feeding geese, there is a glimmer of hope: check this out.

*In France, a blend of spices is sold as "quatre épices". You can make your own by mixing ground pepper, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.
And to drink?
And to drink?
One can discuss at length what wine to drink with foie gras but, at the risk of being controversial, I don't think a Sauternes goes at all well. Such a sweet wine is already too close to the sweet richness of the foie gras.

I suggest you try a dry white wine instead, which can bring out the flavour of the foie gras by contrasting with it. Why not a "Cotes du Jura blanc" (those from the Domaine Rolet in Arbois (France) are excellent).

If you really prefer a sweet wine, try something less sweet than a Sauternes, like "Coteaux du Layon, Croix blanche" a wine from the Loire valley, (those made by Sylvie Termeau at Rochefort/Loire are perfect).
Several weeks in the fridge, covered with plastic film.
From Françoise who taught me everything.
Nutritional information
Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
2,375 Kcal or 9,944 Kj60 gr23 gr226 gr
119 %23 %2 %34 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
454 Kcal or 1,901 Kj11 gr4 gr43 gr
23 %4 %<1 %7 %
Per foie gras
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
2,375 Kcal or 9,944 Kj60 gr23 gr226 gr
119 %23 %2 %34 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).
How much will it cost?
  • For 1 foie gras : 17.76 €

Change currency:

Note: Be careful, these prices are only an estimate, you can consult the table of prices by ingredients used for this estimate.

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Your 6 comments or questions on this recipe
  • You can't.
    Instead use a smaller container, a jar for example.
    Posted by Anonymous may 3rd 2016 at 14:51 (n° 6)
  • How can I compensate for not having a small enough terrine for the liver?
    Posted by Anonymous may 3rd 2016 at 13:59 (n° 5)
  • Blending is not needed because seasonings are sprinkled all around liver sides.
    Posted by jh october 26th 2012 at 13:33 (n° 4)
  • Thank you for this recipe. i have about 30 pheasant livers and 10 mallard livers and am making a few pots of pate . I am surprised that you havent blended your pate, why is that, every recipe I have seen blends the liver after adding other ingredients.
    Posted by peter october 24th 2012 at 18:56 (n° 3)
  • No, don't be worry, freeze don't change texture or taste. But if you plan to make your terrine for new year eve, you could also wait some more days, and make it around the 20th, and keep in the fridge with a plastic film on top.Anyway, don't forget to remove it from the fridge, one hour before serving to your guests, taste will be better, and texture smoother. Have a nice new year "réveillon" !
    Posted by jh december 11th 2010 at 16:30 (n° 2)
  • I wish I would have found your site before I made my terrine today. I appreciate your alternate version #3, I will attempt it next time, it looks much easier. Now I have a question about freezing my terrine for New Years Eve. Will freezing change the texture or the taste. Thank you for responding. Have a good day.
    Posted by Rose december 11th 2010 at 01:44 (n° 1)
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