My Chicken Liver Pate

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chicken liver pate

A personal favourite of mine, and one that never quite goes out of fashion. Here’s my simple (no brains required) version; this will feed 8 as a starter, or about 20 as part of a buffet.

I’ve never been able to understand why people are so impressed by home-made pate and when you make this yourself, you’ll understand why.. In recent times, I’ve started sieving my pate after blitzing while  it’s still warm. I’ve decided that I really like that smooth texture, but it’s entirely up to your personal preference. Apparently you can call it a ‘Parfait’ if you’ve sieved it ..

 

EQUIPMENT:

  • High-sided frying pan
  • Food processor
  • A Sieve.
  • Small pots or ramekins, or a larger shallow dish

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz./500g chicken livers. Fresh or frozen (if frozen, defrost before use)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • a teaspoon of butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped – or 2-3 shallots, finely chopped.
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of dry mustard powder
  • a large sprig of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the branch, and chopped
  • 4oz/125g of unsalted butter, melted
  • Brandy (my favorite) or Port – a splash, oh all right, 2-3 tablespoons or so..
  • Sea salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • Bay leaves or sprigs of thyme to decorate (optional, but it looks great)

 

METHOD:

  • Check over the chicken livers, and discard any vessels or sinews
  • Heat the oil and teaspoon of butter in a heavy-based frying pan over a fairly high heat.

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  • When it is foaming, add the onions, and stir well, moving them all the time, until slightly golden and softened, but not brown.
  • Add the garlic, give it a quick stir, and throw in the Chicken livers

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  • Stir these around until the outsides of the livers have changed colour and are mostly cooked (about 5 mins)
  • Stir in the dry mustard powder, the fresh thyme, and the salt and pepper
  • Add the brandy/port if you are using it, let it to bubble up, and allow to reduce slightly.
  • After about 2-3 mins, remove the whole pan from the heat. You do not want the liver to cook through; they should be very slightly pink on the inside.

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  • When they’ve cooled for a few minutes, put the contents of the pan into the food processor and give the liver mixture a good old whiz. I process it for about 1-2 minutes, on and off, checking it every 20 seconds or so, and pushing the mixture down the sides of the processor bowl if required.
  • Pour the melted butter through the funnel in a steady stream until it is all absorbed.

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  • Then have a look. If you’re going to sieve it, it doesn’t need to be completely smooth, but it should be fairly homogeneous .
  • Taste for seasoning. I find this difficult, as the mixture is warm, and it tastes quite different when it has cooled. But as long as it is not too obviously low on the salt, I tend to leave it.
  • Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture into a bowl, discarding the leftover bits and then onward into your chosen dishes

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  • I always think that smaller dishes look better.
  • Allow to cool, lightly covered with a clean tea-towel.
  • As soon as it has cooled a little,  decorate it if you feel so inclined.

Decoration:

  • Place a (previously washed and dried) sprig of thyme, or a Bay leaf, or a sprig of rosemary and a few whole peppercorns on the surface of the pate, patting them down very, very slightly.
  • Melt 125g unsalted butter and pour gently and slowly over the top of the pate, trying not to include any of the solids left in the melted butter.
  • Using a flat-bladed knife, make sure that the decorations are under the butter layer.
  • Cover with cling film and remove to the fridge, where they will live happily for several days.

TO SERVE:

  • Remove the pate from the fridge about 30 mins before you want to serve it. Keep the cling film on until the last minute. (our cat loves pate – learn from my mistakes!)
  • Make some melba or fresh hot buttered toast, remove the cling film, and serve.
  • Fresh wheaten bread is great with this too – try Nanny Bell’s recipe – http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/jonnys-nannys-wheaten-bread/
  • If you’ve used a larger bowl for the pate, allow people to serve themselves. Or, using two dessert spoons, scoop out a portion for individual plates. About two scoops is fine for a starter.

Chicken liver parfait and crostini (1)

 

About

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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