Nothing Basic about this basic Chicken Liver Pate!
Life has been busy. Who knew that working could take up so much time? Especially when I’m only paid for 5 hours a week?? Well, it will soon be over (phe-ew I say wiping my brow) and I can go back to not-quite-normal. There has still been lots of cooking, and eating, and entertaining, but I have not been sharing – sorry! I have been getting lots of questions about how to put things together for entertaining, so thought I would share a plan for a French themed dinner we had recently. Oooh-la-la I hear you cry – what do we start with? Pate of course. Or as Mum says “Par-tay” which I quite prefer to be honest. Above you can see Chicken Liver Pate as part of a charcuterie board – that’s a fancy way of saying a platter with meats and cheeses.
I love pate but had never ventured into making it. The whole awful offal thing. I thought the livers might smell. Or be slimey. But no- neither! Look away vegos – things are gonna get meaty!
Finding fresh chicken livers was a challenge, but good old Woolies won out over the butcher. $2.50 buys 500g , so that is quite the bargain right there. I gave mine a nice rinse then trimmed off all the white bits and connective tissue. This left me with about 400g (micro-surgery is not a career option for me). Set aside while you get everything else ready (if you don’t have air con pop back into the fridge)
Finely dice a French eschalot and mince a couple of cloves of garlic. Remove the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme to give 2-3 tablespoons. Pate can take robust flavours so don’t be afraid to increase if you want. I am looking forward to experimenting with different herbs – sage will definitely be the next! measure out your brandy, dice up the butter and you are ready to cook:
In a large pan over a medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter. Once sizzling, add eschalot and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softening but not brown. Add livers and cook for about 1-2 minutes until starting to brown . Turn, add thyme and cook for a further minute on the other side. Liver should be still pink inside.
Slosh in the brandy and simmer for 3 minutes.
See how they are still pink? This is what you are looking for. Season well, then move to the small bowl of your food processor along with the cold cubed butter and cream and blitz until smooth. Have a little taste (mmm- warm liver tempting right? But you need to try the seasoning. I’ll admit I went too light on the salt on my first batch so don’t skip this step! Whilst the flavours develops a little upon setting and sitting, this is pretty much what you end up with. Now to the VERY IMPORTANT STEP. The mixture needs to be put through a fine sieve. This removes any of the un-blitzed pieces and results in a silky smooth pate. My friend Trish likened the texture to a meaty Milky Way bar (again -apologies to vegos, but I figure I’ve lost your attention anyway!)
You will be left with some gritty but very tasty leftovers that are lovely on a piece of thin toast – just saying. Pour the mixture into 2 x 1 cup bowls (or one large or several lovely little pots if you prefer- it is rich after all and a little goes a long way). Smooth over the top as best you can, and pop into the fridge.
Melt extra butter and allow to separate. The milk solids will drop to the bottom and we just want to use the clear golden clarified butter at the top. Pop a sprig of thyme on the pate and carefully drizzle butter over. (This is fiddly and I do wonder if it might be easier to purchase ghee instead)
You can see that I came up a little short on one pot as I had made a little taster for my neighbour and did not want to melt any more butter. The butter acts as a seal to stop discolouration – if you prefer you can leave off altogether. Place plastic wrap over the top of the pot/s and place in the fridge for up to 5 days. My research says that another option is to cover a pot with plastic wrap, then foil and pop in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator – instant party with your par-tay!
- 20 g butter
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 eschalot, finely diced
- 500g chicken livers, trimmed (trimming may leave you with around 400g)
- ¼ cup brandy
- 125g butter, extra
- ¼ cup cream
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 tbs chopped thyme leaves, plus sprigs to decorate
- 80g -100g clarifies butter
- In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook eschalot and garlic until softened but not brown. Add livers and cook about 1 minute. Add in thyme and turn livers, cooking for another minute. The livers should be browned on the outside but still pink inside. Add brandy and simmer for 2 -3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour into the small bowl of a food processor, along with the extra cubed butter and cream and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Push through a sieve into a bowl and then pour into your desired pots. Smooth top and refrigerate.
- Melt the extra 80-100g butter, allow to cool and for milk solids to separate.
- Place sprigs of thyme on top of your pate then top with clarified butter.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate
- Serve with thin toasts or crackers
Pate will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days