Pâté de foie gras is a paste made from the liver of a duck or goose, usually after the fowl has been put on a special diet to develop fatty livers. Often the animals are force-fed, a practice dating back hundreds of years.
French chef Jean-Joseph Clause developed pâté de foie gras in 1779. Although it's considered a delicacy, many oppose the food, considering the force-feeding of animals cruel. The pâté can also be made with regular livers, bypassing the messy ethical issues and costing far less. Duck fat is used in conjunction with duck liver to give the pâté the creamy texture found in foie gras or fatty livers.
To make the pâté, heat 3 ounces of duck fat in a skillet for five minutes until it starts to brown and melt, and then add 1 large peeled and chopped shallot. After 30 seconds, add 1 chopped duck liver, and season it with 1/4 teaspoon of herbes de Provence and 1 peeled and crushed garlic clove. Cook the liver at high heat for a few minutes, and sprinkle it with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Scrape the liver mixture and 1 teaspoon of Cognac into a food processor, and blend it until it is creamy and smooth. Strain the pâté, and allow it to cool before serving it with toasted baguette slices.