Vietnamese Black Bear Pté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe.

Vietnamese Black Bear Pté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe
The warm puff pastry engulfing the black bear meat mixture makes for some tasty meat pies. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

Pâté chaud is a savory hand pie, filled with ground pork, herbs and spices, wrapped in flaky puff pastry. Along with bear meat in this recipe, I added pork for the fat and texture. You can adjust the ratio here however you like and go down as much as 20 percent. This recipe makes a huge batch, so make it a party! If not, cut down the recipe as you like.

For the best table fare, look for meat from bears that have been foraging on berries and not on fish.

This pâté chaud recipe reminds me of my childhood. My mom made these all the time while I was growing up, and I was reminded of them again recently. It is a classic example of French-Vietnamese cuisine and is a mainstay pastry item in Vietnamese bakeries everywhere – grab a coffee to-go and pick out a pâté chaud to take with you in a paper sack.

The bear in this recipe came from a friend who went hunting in Saskatchewan, and due to the risk of trichinosis, bear meat should not be eaten red. Hank Shaw at www.honest-food.net said, “To kill trichinae parasites you need to hit at least 135°F and hold it there for a long time, at least an hour. Safer to get the meat up to 145 to 150°F, which is medium — still pink, by the way. Ignore the old warnings about 180°F and such.”


Serves: About 27 pastries (three 9-pastry batches)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground black bear meat
  • 1 pound ground pork shoulder
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 4 scallions, green parts minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 (4.67-ounce) can pork liver pâté (I used the Flower brand)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 dashes Maggi seasoning (optional)
  • 3 boxes Pepperidge Farms frozen puff pastry (2 sheets each)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk or water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Set a cookie sheet to warm on a lower third rack of the oven (but not the very last one).
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the ground bear meat, pork, minced onion, scallions, garlic, cracked black pepper, pork pâté, fish sauce and Maggi seasoning.
  3. Vietnamese Black Bear Pâté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe
    The onion and scallions mixed into the meat create a flavorful mixture. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  4. Thaw puff pastry, one box at a time. You want the sheets pliable, but still cold. Pour a little water into a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk/water.
  5. Unfold the sheets and cut each into 9 equal squares, giving you 18 squares per box. Drop a dollop of bear meat mixture onto a square, take another square and wet the edges with water, then seal the edges by crimping with a fork. Poke the top to make holes for steam to escape. Repeat 8 more times – you’ll get 9 pastries per box. Keep the assembled pastries cold (in the refrigerator or freezer) while you work with the others.
  6. Vietnamese Black Bear Pâté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe
    Do not add too much meat to the pastry, otherwise you may not be able to cover it with another square. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  7. Cover the hot cookie sheet with parchment paper. Evenly space out the 9 pastries onto the parchment paper and brush with the egg mixture.
  8. Vietnamese Black Bear Pâté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe
    Brushing the egg mixture on the pastries will create a golden brown crust. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  9. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the tops are golden brown and the bottoms are not soggy. Rest on cooling racks for a few minutes to serve warm. Repeat with the other two batches of pâté chaud.
  10. Vietnamese Black Bear Pâté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe
    Check the pies frequently as they cook to ensure they do not burn. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

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