Rustic Pâté


A while ago I bought quite a bit of chicken livers. And I got cooking. Personally, I love chicken livers. There is this thing about people and animal organs: some like them, others would run for miles rather than face one. What always confused me though: people get all squeamish at the sight of chicken livers, and would never touch them, let alone cook them … yet, they love pate. I might be missing something, but isn’t pate all about liver?

Anyway. Chicken liver pate is one of those things I love, but rarely cook. Although overall pate would qualify as an easy recipe. Oh, I don’t know. It’s probably all the pots and pans, and food processors you need taking out of the cupboard, washing up, putting back in the cupboard. (Me, lazy? Never. Well, a bit. Sometimes.) The result is always such a smooth tasty pate, it’s worth all of the above.

With so many BBQ and garden parties invitations left and right, I felt there is need for something just a little bit more ‘exotic’ than the usual potato salad (German, usually), or pasta salad (Italian, usually). By exotic I didn’t need to look further than, oh, say, France. Chicken liver pate was my latest BBQ contribution. Oh, and do I need to say, the ramekins came back squeaky clean?

Rustic pate (4 little ramekins)

455gr/ 1lb chicken livers
400gr/ 14oz softened butter
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small bunch of thyme, leaves only
1 large wine glass of brandy, cognac, or sherry (whichever does it for you, or as in our case whichever you have or not in the house)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
sage leaves

Now, before I start with the recipe let me share this with you: 400gr of butter is a scary sight. I know pate is all about creaminess, and spreadability factor, but there is no way I can look at 400gr of butter, shrug, and use it. I cut that quantity as much as I could by just adding a little bit at a time till the texture of the pate became more or less … rustic (grainy, but not too).

Put 150gr of butter in a bowl, and melt slowly till it has separated. Strain off the yellow butter and set aside.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, and slowly fry the onion and the garlic. Set aside. Turn the heat up and fry the chicken livers in the same pan. Cook the livers till coloured, but still pink in the middle. Pour in the brandy (again, I didn’t use the whole glass measure but that’s just because I ran out of it …). Simmer for a minute, then take the livers off the heat and tip into a food processor. Add the cooked onions and garlic. Blitz till you have a smooth paste. Add the rest of the butter (ahem, here it wasn’t all the rest – read above). Season the mixture well. Divide the pate into ramekins.

Fry the sage leaves in a little hot oil, and sprinkle over the set chicken liver pate. You’ll notice, I didn’t do this. Why? Part gimmick, part time. Spoon the clarified butter over the sage leaves. (Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver ‘Jamie’s Kitchen’)

Leave the pate to set in the fridge for an hour before serving. What was the discovery du jour? You can freeze pate. I had no idea, but such a great tip. Although this time around there was no pate left to freeze. But good to know.

So, where do you stand when it comes to chicken livers? Love them or hate them?

Hungry for more?

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