Chicken to try chicken livers?
I used to work with a woman, Natalie, who was very opinionated about her food. She would look at me with all the gravity she could muster, and share very firm culinary beliefs, like, “Ann. Rice and soup should never go together.” She enjoyed soup, yes. Rice, no problem. But mixing the two went against her core values and belief system. Of course, I made a point of trying to shock her with food at every opportunity. I greatly enjoyed going on a business trip with her and eating at a restaurant during “garlic fest,” where I happily lapped up a bowl of garlic ice cream. She looked at me like she needed to figure out how to save my soul after that one.
I didn’t think I had similar beliefs about food, because obviously I’m willing to try just about anything, but as I embarked on this post’s culinary adventure I remembered I once had similar food prejudices. Another friend, this one from high school (Mary-Ann) used to bring liverwurst sandwiches to school for lunch. I couldn’t stand the thought of them and nearly gagged as she ate them in front of me. In my mind, meat needed to be fibrous. Meat. Paste. So wrong.
I’ve come a long way. I think being at parties where pate is often in close proximity to a wine bottle helped me lose my reluctance, and before I knew it I was picking up whole logs of the stuff and slurping down the jellied covering as an odd form of jello shooter.
And my biggest pate progression yet is what this post is based on. I made my own pate from real chicken livers.
Once again, I must apologize to my vegetarian friends. Tune out for this next part. Chicken livers feel cool. They’re smooth and soft and have a beautiful weight to them. And yes, saying that makes me feel like I should crave fava beans and a nice chianti.
Damn, that would have been the perfect recipe for chicken livers. But pate was probably easier to make. And now that I’ve made it myself, I know that it’s way more delicious to do it that way, and it’s super easy.
I found this recipe, and I’m glad I chose it because the author of the article clearly did her research, having tested many chef’s methods and selecting this one as the best. Here it is, painstakingly re-typed (you’re welcome! All I do, I do for you, my fooders), including a few bonus suggestions from me.
Perfect Chicken Liver Pate
- 350g chicken livers, cleaned (to clean, I cut off anything a different colour or unsmooth). I used local organic free range chicken livers because they grossed me out less
- 175g butter, diced (about 1.5 sticks)
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 75mL madeira (I can never find madeira so I use sherry, although I’ve never looked very hard)
- 75mL heavy cream
- 1/2tsp salt
- dash of allspice
- 1/4tsp ground ginger
Cut the livers into small pieces, and heave a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallot and thyme and soften, then turn up the heat to medium-high, add the livers and saute for a couple of minutes until browned on the outside but pink on the inside. (This part freaked me out later because I read about how the livers are also susceptible to salmonella, so I’d actually suggest cooking them until they’re done in the middle)
This is what happens after the couple of minutes…
Tip into a food processor.
Add the madeira to the pan and boil until reduced to a couple of tablespoons. Tip into the food processor, add the cream, salt and spices and whizz until smooth. Add all but 75g (5Tbsp) of the butter, and whizz again. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Pass through a sieve (I am often lazy about these kinds of details, but I highly recommend this part because it made it super smooth) into a serving dish and chill for half an hour. Melt the remaining butter over top, and refrigerate until set (you can omit this part – I thought it made it a bit re-chilled solidified butter weirdish).
C’est tout! And yes, I know I’ve left the accents out of the word pate through this whole post but I just wrote a comedic novel for teen girls (yay!) and I should really be working on promoting that rather than food blogging which I’m doing to procrastinate because I enjoy it but I don’t enjoy cutting and pasting accents so I’m not going to. (To the tune of “it’s my party…”) It’s my food blog, and I’ll spell badly if I want to…
Results: Even better the second day. Extremely smooth. My parents ate it, and they generally don’t like pate. Like everything, it’s very nice to know exactly what’s in what you’re eating because you made it yourself, even though in this case it’s a hell of a lot of butter and cream. Rating: 4 Yums
Wine Pairing: A strong wine pairing for pate is beaujolais, so I’ll suggest the top beaujolais at my local liquor store for less than $20 (according to winealign.com) which is the 2008 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais at only $11.95.
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