Chicken liver pate

31 07 2012

Another recipe in the spirit of finishing things (or using as much of the animal as possible) that I’ve started making on occasion is chicken liver pate. I’ve tried a few recipes but this version is my favorite so far:

You can absolutely make a larger batch of this but I find that one jar is just perfect. Plus – I only need the livers from 2 chickens for this recipe vs. the cup or lb of most others I’ve found on the interweb.


  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 2 full chicken livers, rinsed, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 small whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 cup Calvados
  • 1 Tbs balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • olive oil

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and melt 1 Tbs butter. Add the seasoned livers and saute until just cooked – 3 to 4 minutes per side. Put the livers in a food processor and set aside, reserving any leftover butter in the pan. Add 1/2 Tbs more butter and the shallots to the pan, season with salt, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until translucent. Add the apple, parsley, cloves, cinnamon sticks and 1/8 cup water – cover and cook until the apples are soft and the liquid mostly gone. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Cavados, stirring a bit; remove the parsley and cinnamon, and then add mixture to the livers in the food processor. Put the vinegar, remaining butter (cut into bits), and nutmeg, and process until quite smooth, stopping a few times to scrape down the bowl. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Here comes the annoying part: smoosh the pate through a fine sieve before putting it in a jar, top with olive oil, and chill until you are ready to eat (at least an hour). I have made a version where there was no straining through a sieve and it was definitely grainy in a way that this version is not. It’s worth the extra effort.

I like my pate on toasts with a little pickled onion on top but you could choose sweet if you wanted, going for sliced plums or wine soaked raisins. Totally your call.




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