Chicken Liver and Brandy Pâté

I love pâté on toast in the morning. For breakfast toast, I like a smooth, fresh pâté- I upgrade to a coarser one as the day goes on.

This has a lot of time consuming steps… but it’s worth taking the extra time to get all the graininess out, and to come out with a gorgeous result. It’s still edible if you skip the sieving (nobody ever enjoys washing a seive), but this is a recipe that benefits from an anally retentive attention to detail.

It’s also very cheap. 200g of chicken livers should cost you about 50p, butter about a quid, and brandy should just be lying around your house from that time you decided you were going to be a more sophisticated drinker (and you only use a little anyway).

I made a shedload, as it was my offering for my work Christmas buffet. Half of this would do you for a week, which is about how long it’ll keep in the fridge.

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PS.  We’re not going for health food here. This is a luxury treat, and is gorgeously fatty and calorific. If it helps justify it, eating liver is very good for your own liver, so there is a health benefit… just*!

Ingredients

Serves one office as part of a buffet, and one particularly greedy blogger

  • 800g chicken livers- regrettably, these are not widely available fresh. A good butcher will have them, but supermarkets tend to only have frozen livers. These work fine and dandy.
  • 250g butter
  • Milk
  • Brandy- or other amber spirit, ie. whisky, sherry- all will give a slightly different end flavour.

Method

Firstly, trim any black or green bits from the livers. They don’t taste so good. Then put the livers in a large mixing bowl, and cover with milk. Divide the butter into five 50g pieces, and leave everything soaking or going soft for at least half an hour.

Once done, pour the milk away, and in a large frying pan, melt 150g of the butter over a fairly high heat (there’s a lot of livers, so you may want to halve this and cook them in two batches). When the butter is melted and buttery, throw in the livers. A couple of minutes either side should give them a good buttery crust, but leave them pink in the middle- essential for a nice rose coloured pâté.

Transfer the cooked livers, butter and all into a blender or food processor. Put a healthy few glugs of good brandy into the hot pan, and let it bubble for a bit, so that it doesn’t end up too boozy. Add this to the food processor, then season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add another 50g of butter (did I mention this isn’t health food?) and blend down to a smooth paste.

Place a sieve over a large bowl- Even better, do this over the container you’re going to put the pâté in to set, if it’s large enough (I didn’t have the foresight, and used two loaf tins). Slowly feed the pâté through, pushing it through the seive with a spatula or anything firm but a little malleable. This stage guarantees it will be smooth and fresher tasting as a result, as close to a Foie Gras as you can get without being a terrible person. It’ll take time, but its worth it.

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Once done, put in a container, lined with cling film to set, and put in the fridge for half an hour. Melt the remaining 50g of butter, and remove the foam from the top of this. Pour this over the top of your pâté, to stop it from discolouring as it sets.

Leave overnight to set, and enjoy with a slice of toast the following morning. If you’re presenting it, turn it out to hide the buttery side, and scatter over a few capers, which complement it beautifully, and serve with some melba toast.

* I just looked into it, and it’s about 200 calories per 100g. As this recipe will make a kilogram of paté, give or take, you’d need to run for around 100 minutes, or around 9.5 miles to burn it off. Good half marathon training, eating paté is.

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