We all know that fat plays a major role in charcuterie. Cuts with significant fat on them impart a rich, silky flavor in preserved meats, and many chefs apply lard and other fats to exposed meat to help protect it while it ages.
Forcemeat is a mixture of ground, lean meat and fat. The two ingredients are combined by grinding, sieving or pureeing for a smooth or coarse consistency, depending on personal preference. The purpose behind this practice is so the meat will hold together properly when it is sliced. What you may not know is that forcemeats provide the base for many charcuterie favorites, including quenelles, sausages, pâtés, terrines, roulades and galantines. Popular lean meats that provide a basis for forcemeats include pork, fish, venison, poultry and veal, while pork fatback is most often used as the fat component.
There are four main styles of forcemeats: straight, country-style, gratin and Mousseline. Straight forcemeats are a combination of pork and pork fat, with the meat being the dominant ingredient. The mixture is cubed, seasoned, cured, rested, ground and processed. The country-style results in a more textured meat and includes meat, fat, liver and other garnishes.
When preparing gratin forcemeats, you should sauté and cool the meat before it is ground. Mousseline is made with lean white meats like veal, poultry or fish mixed with cream and eggs for a light texture and consistency.