Liver Pate: Attempt #1

Again, in the spirit of trying new things, I attempted to make something that I’ve never tried before: Chicken liver pate! I’ve always enjoyed the unique taste of offals, and livers are one of my all time favourite cheap cuts of meats to use in cooking. I firmly believe in using all cuts of an animal, and with a little bit of work, livers can be transformed from an off cut you serve to your least favourite child to an amazing appetizer that you can be proud of to put on any charcuterie plate! Plus, this is an excellent cheap way of making something that will impress your friends and loved ones, as well as having a ready made snack for when you get home from long hours at the gym/work.

I started with about 2 kg of chicken livers from Harkness and Co., this was a lot, and in hindsight, I believe 1kg would have worked out well. Initially I wanted to experiment with 2 different flavours, but didn’t have the herbs and spices on hand. The livers have to be trimmed and cleaned of any connective tissue and sinew before being used (all the white parts in the picture below).

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After processing the 2kg of liver, which took a surprisingly short amount of time, I ended up with:

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I washed them thoroughly, and left them in the sieve to drain while I prepared the aromatics. Note, some people soak livers in milk to get rid of the “iron-y” taste. I think with chicken livers, this taste is much milder than compared to say beef or pork livers. So I skipped it.

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I played off the classic combination of livers and onions, with liberal additions of garlic and herbs to add depth of flavour and savouriness to the base liver flavour. Cinnamon was also added to decrease the stronger offal taste that you can get with liver.

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First, you finely chop your onions and garlic, before sauteeing over low heat in copious amounts of butter. Add your aromatics to give all that flavour to the butter. Take good care not to burn the garlic to avoid adding bitterness to the final product. Add your liver to the pan to sautee, until brown on the outside (I apologize, couldn’t take any good pictures of this process, too much steam!). Season appropriately, you can always add more salt after blending. Deglaze the pan with a healthy splash of whisky and chicken stock, and reduce (don’t worry, I didn’t waste the good whisky).

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Taste the liver and the reduction, this is the time to adjust the final seasoning. Pour the seasoned dry mix into the food processor, with a healthy amount of the reduction. Reserve the rest of the whisky stock reduction in case you need to thin out the mix.

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As Gordon Ramsay says, blitz until smooth. At this point, you can adjust the viscosity of the pate by adding more liquid. I added a splash of apple cider vinegar at this point to add some freshness to the pate, but feel free to skip this step. The pate will firm up in the fridge, but it is best not to make a soupy mixture. We don’t want the pate to separate! I put the pate into small glass containers to seal, and topped it off with a layer of garlic and oregano butter for the pate that I don’t intend on eating right away.

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Adding the flavoured butter is a method to prevent the pate from going off colour due to the oxidation on the surface layer. From the 2kg, I ended up with 4 containers, 2 of which I froze with little effect on the taste/texture. The other 2 I consumed rapidly, as one does when confronted with this delicious challenge.

You can pass the pate through a fine sieve to make it silky smooth. It definitely is much sexier that way. Also, if you feel so inclined, you can make the colour a bit more appealing by adding some curing salt #1 (with nitrite ONLY). I’ve seen this in some recipes, but I find it a tad overkill. It’s definitely a personal preference thing.

Eat it spread on top of grilled bread with a drizzle of honey and sea salt, or some toasted almond slices and a pinch of cumin. or just by the spoonful.

Your belly will thank me.

Until next time,

-K

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This recipe is for a about 2kg of chicken livers. Try to buy organic livers, as the livers are essentially a blood filter.

  1. 2kg of chicken livers
  2. 3 large white onions
  3. half a head of garlic
  4. 4 bay leaves
  5. teaspoon of oregano
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1 cup of chicken stock

Clean the livers of any connective tissue before you start. Rinse them well, and leave to drain while you prepare the aromatics. Finely dice your garlic and onion, sautee in liberal amounts of butter (it will taste better, and you eat very little at a sitting, so you’re not really eating that much butter at once. If you feel inclined, substitute with olive oil or a 50/50 mix of butter and olive oil). break the cinnamon stick and drop your aromatics into the butter/onion/garlic mix. Sautee on low heat until onions are translucent but not browning.

Drop in your drained livers, season with salt and pepper. Stir the mix, sauteeing on medium heat until the livers lightly start to brown. At this point, pour in the whiskey and allow the alcohol to burn off. Finally, pour in the chicken stock and allow to simmer until all the livers are just cooked through. DO NOT OVERCOOK! The livers will take on a grainy texture if overcooked.

Pour the mixture into your food processor, reserving some liquid to thin out the mixture if needed. Blend well, until smooth. Add in more cooking liquid if needed to get the desired texture. Add in a splash of acid to introduce freshness to the pate. If smoothness in the pate is desired, pass through a fine sieve.

Spoon the mixture into small glass containers, adding a layer of melted butter over top to help with the preservation/avoid oxidation. Put into the fridge to firm up overnight, and the next morning, enjoy over some fresh toasted bread!

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