Though pâté is widely known as a French delicacy, many cultures have their own version. I was first introduced to chicken liver pate in Italy. While this may sound fancy and romantic, it actually became my fast food while traveling. Okay. It’s Italy. It was still wildly romantic!
I did not grow up eating liver, and so I’ve never felt fond cravings for it. However, when in the form of velvety pâté in Venice, with new friends, wine and crusty sourdough…well, I fell in love.
I wondered throughout the trip how I had so much energy. I was staying up until the wee hours, rising early, drinking wine like water, trying every single new food I found and walking to any and every new site to see. Now I know: it was the liver.
Okay. I know what you’re going say… “I would never eat liver. It’s a filter and storage site for toxins in the body.”
Liver is part of an animal’s detoxification system, but it does not store toxins in a healthy animal. It moves toxins through to the other parts of the detoxification system and out of the body. This is why it is very important to source liver from animals raised in an organic environment on pasture. The bonus is that liver is a very inexpensive purchase in the sometimes pricey world of pasture raised meats.
Liver is a bit of a secret super food these days. Healthy liver offers more vitamin A, B vitamins, folate and minerals than any other food. This is why many traditional cultures considered liver and other offal to be a sacred food. It is why carnivores of the animal kingdom eat the organs of a fresh kill before muscle meat. It is why I regularly include liver in my family’s diet.
This is an affordable, delicious and easy chicken liver pate. It travels well and is a staple at any picnic I attend. I designed this recipe with an eye to luring newbies into the world of nutrient dense liver. It is very rich and savory without a strong liver taste. Enjoy!
Easy chicken liver pate ingredients
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or chipollini onions
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup Cognac or other brandy
- 1 lb chicken liver, trimmed, preferably from chickens raised on pasture
- 10 egg yolks
- 2 cups cream, preferably from cows raised on pasture
- 1/2 cup arrowroot
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 8-10 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee
- Several fresh bay or sage leaves (optional)
Easy chicken liver pate method
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt bacon drippings in heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Add shallots, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add garlic, thyme and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and carefully add Cognac (use caution; if Cognac ignites, shake skillet), then boil until reduced to a thick consistency with little liquid.
- Allow mixture to cool so that when you add liver and yolks they are not immediately cooked.
- Transfer glorious smelling mixture to a blender or food processor. Add livers and yolks, then purée until smooth.
- Add milk, arrowroot, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice and blend until combined.
- Pour pâté into butter greased terrine, skimming off any foam.
- Make a water bath, by putting your filled terrine in a larger baking dish and add enough boiling water to reach halfway up the side of the smaller terrine. Bake in a water bath until pâté is just set and a small sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
- Melt ghee in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes.* Arrange bay or sage leaf decoratively on top.
- Spoon enough ghee or clarified butter over pâté to cover its surface well. Keep in mind that a very thin layer will crack easily and will not provide a nice seal, which will give your pâté longer shelf life.
- Chill pate completely, about 4 hours. Freeze or store in refrigerator depending on when you plan to enjoy it. Bring to room temperature about 1 hour before serving.
*You may substitute butter if you do not have ghee. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes allowing the milky solids to settle at the bottom of the saucepan. Pour only the clarified butter onto the pâté.
“Easy chicken liver pate” was generously contributed by Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee. Monica’s recipes will make your mouth water and your tummy purr. If you’re lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, Real Food Devotee can make your life easier by delivering nutrient dense goodies directly to your door.
Photo Credit: An Eye Full Studio
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