I’ve never met a chicken liver pâté I didn’t like and am always tempted to order it when I see it on a menu. It’s relatively inexpensive, it’s sweet and savory at the same time, and has such a luxurious mouthfeel. Some might argue chicken liver pâté is an acquired taste. Maybe it’s the mental roadblock of livers being a less commonly cooked ingredient. Either way, I hope to make a convert out of you.
Making pâté sounds intimidating, but it’s honestly one of the quickest and easiest restaurant dishes to make at home. Chicken livers are quite inexpensive at only $2-$3/lb so you can serve this fancy treat without breaking the bank. Plate it up on tasting spoons for smaller portions with pickled red onions and thyme leaves to garnish.Chicken Liver Pâté
1 lb chicken livers, cleaned
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sliced shallots
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 bay leaf
3/4 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 oz cognac (or brandy)
1 oz Madeira
1 baguette, 1/4″ slices on the bias
In a large skillet, melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add the chicken livers, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, allowing the chicken livers to start browning, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the cognac and Madeira and continue cooking until about half of the liquid has evaporated and the livers are just barely pink on the inside. Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Soften the remaining 1/2 cup of butter. Puree the liver mixture in a food processor and add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time. Allow the processor to run for about a minute to smooth the puree. (If you prefer a very smooth texture, you may press the puree through a fine mesh strainer.) Place the puree into six 4-oz ramekins and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
After placing the pâté into ramekins and smoothing over the top, you may add a thin layer of melted clarified butter and garnish with a thyme sprig, as shown here. Allow the pâté and clarified butter to firm up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and returning to the refrigerator to finish chilling for at least 2 hours.
Toast the baguette slices under the broiler and serve with the pâté.
Once you make this easy pâté at home, you may never need to order it on a restaurant menu again. Heck, you may never even eat out again.
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