Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chicken liver pâté

...aka Vincent's raison d'être...

This was made to what I remember of my mother's recipe. It was too late to call her in Cape Town to check on details, so I may have got some things wrong. It tasted like hers, though! We bought a bottle of pretty nice brandy, as I didn't have any, and we'll be sitting with it for some time, I think.

If you're on Weigh-less or a calorie-restricted diet, exit now. Don't walk, run.

I found organic chicken livers at Wholefoods.

So:

1 lb of chicken livers, sorted and cleaned
5 Tbsp butter for sautéeing livers
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, ditto
6 stalks thyme, leaves stripped from stalks
10 stalks flatleaf parsley from your terrace, with or without swallowtail eggs, finely chopped
1/4 cup brandy
2/3 of a pint of heavy cream
1/2 a lime's juice (2 Tbs0)
3 Tbsps butter, melted for pouring into blender
1/2 stick...um...butter, melted, too, for sealing pots

Okie dokie:

In a heavy-bottomed pan melt the butter, a tablespoonful at a time. Sauté the livers in batches, browning them and flipping them as soon as they have some colour, then taking them out and keeping them in a large bowl. Don't overcook: quite pink inside is good. Watch the heat, as you don't want to burn the butter and get a scorched taste into the pâté.

In the same pan cook the onion and garlic until translucent, about 4 minutes, adding the herbs.

Pour in the brandy and stand back: it may ignite. Let it bubble for a minute or so to cook off a little and mellow, stirring to loosen the brown bits off the pan and into the liquid.

Add the cream. Cook for a minute, then taste and adjust seasoning. Add the lime juice.

Return the chicken livers and onion to the pan and stir. Turn off heat.

When the liver mixture has cooled, either food-process or blend it in batches. I blended. It should be mousse-like. As you blend each batch dribble in a little of the melted butter.

Pour into small ramekins or pots or mason jars. Cool till set, press a parsley leaf or thyme sprig, or thyme flowers into the top and pour over a little of the last half stick of butter to seal.

Chill in fridge or freeze. Frozen, it will last a long time, wrapped up.


Pretty potsful make good gifts, and a freezerful of pâté is easy pickin's for last minute suppers, picnics or appetizers for a dinner party.

Oh, the bread? Brown seed bread. Preferably bought in South Africa. But that another story.

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