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Recipe: Foie Gras Terrine With Grape And Dark Chocolate Chutney

Chef Alex Phan of PORTA shows the versatility of good chocolate in a savoury dish.
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As if you really need another reason to love chocolate. This luscious treat may be strongly associated with sweets and desserts, but the flavour of cocoa is equally delicious in savoury dishes too, as executive chef Alex Phan of PORTA Fine Food & Import Company at Park Hotel Clarke Quay demonstrates.

He has collaborated with premium chocolate label Malagos from the Philippines to create a chocolate-centric four-course dinner on 18 and 19 October that will fully showcase the potential of chocolate to spice up any dish.

“The general perception is that chocolates are sweets or can only be made into desserts, but as I continued my R&D on it, I found that chocolate reacts differently to various cooking techniques and flavours in terms of heat, acid, fats, sugar and with a smoky flavour,” he says. “The reality is that chocolate has depth in it and, with the proper skills, inquisitiveness and research, we can create unique dishes out of it.”
Chocolate is used in both sweet and savoury dishes at PORTA's Chocolate Discovery Wine Dinner (Pic: PORTA)
Chocolate is used in both sweet and savoury dishes at PORTA's Chocolate Discovery Wine Dinner (Pic: PORTA)
Malagos’ 85% dark chocolate finds its way into a blend of Thai lime, gula Melaka and fish sauce, adding creaminess and a surprising depth of flavour to a dressing for home-cured milk fish. Chocolate is also a secret weapon in many a home cook’s arsenal — a little bit of it goes a long way to adding robustness into stews. Phan employs 72% dark chocolate in his rendition of Kare Kare, a traditional Filipino peanut sauce-based meat stew.

To explore the versatility of chocolate in cooking, try your hand at this recipe for foie gras terrine served with a chutney of grape and dark chocolate. “The chocolate enhances the balsamic and cacao butter components to make the sauce shiny and rich,” the chef says.
Foie Gras Terrine With Grape And Dark Chocolate Chutney

For The Foie Gras Terrine:
500g foie gras
7.5g sea salt
1.25g pink salt
1g white pepper
25g castor sugar

1. Set a thermal circulator to 40°C. Let the foie gras come to room temperature.
2. Cut foie gras into chunky cubes. Mix all ingredients well with the foie gras. Put the seasoned foie gras mixture into a bag and vacuum seal it.
3. When the water bath is at 40°C, drop the bag in and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Pour the foie gras into a mould and pack it tight to prevent air pockets. Keep in the fridge overnight to allow it to set.
5. Heat up a knife and cut to desired slices.

For The Grape And Chocolate Chutney:
500g red grapes (halved)
2 stalks fresh thyme
50g shallots (chopped)
100g balsamic vinegar
250g raw sugar
100g 65% dark chocolate

1. In a pot, add in all the ingredients except for the chocolate. Cook on high heat until all the sugar melts, then turn down the heat to low and simmer till the liquid is slightly thicker or reduced to about a quarter of the original volume.
2. Cool down to about 45°C and stir in the chocolate well.

For The Candied Cacao Nibs:
100g castor sugar
50g water
100g cacao nibs

1. Using high heat, melt the sugar in water. Add the cacao nibs, turn down the heat to low and stir till the sugar crystallises.
2. Pour on to a tray and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until the nibs are dry inside.

To Serve:
Plate two slices of foie gras terrine with the grape and chocolate chutney. Sprinkle candied cacao nibs on top and serve with toasted butter brioche.
RECOMMENDED READING: The Rise of Southeast Asian Chocolatiers
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