Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chicken Liver Pate


  Liver. You either love it or you hate it. I happen to love it. Which is a most splendid thing in my book as offal meats (nasty bits) are so highly nutritious. Liver in particular is a super food of sorts. Nutrient dense and packed full of Vitamins A and B's, iron, copper, phosphorus, and selenium, it's a natural multi-vitamin. However, it is also packed full of intense flavor which has put off many a palette. I hope to help change that.
  While it may prove difficult to sit down to a pungent and slightly chewy liver steak, a smooth and simple pate is much more likely to find its way onto a cracker and into your mouth. If you haven't tried pate before, I implore you to do so at once. Country style pates are firmer and have more texture, whereas mousse pates (like this recipe) are creamy and mild.
  As with so many food things, making it at home is so much easier than one would think. And of course, you totally bypass all of the weird stabilizers, thickening agents, and refined stuff. And did I mention that pate is downright adorable in a little ramekin or canning jar? Instant cheese board hit. Give it a try, you can thank me later.

Chicken Liver Pate


1 lb. pastured chicken livers, washed, trimmed, and cut into large slices
ghee (clarified butter) for cooking with
1 large shallot, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T dry Sherry
3 T cold butter, cut into large chunks
3 T creme fraiche, sour cream, or fromage blanc
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
a few dashes fresh nutmeg

Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a skillet and cook shallots, garlic, and thyme for a few minutes until softened.
Add Sherry and cook for 1 min.
Pour into food processor or Vitamix.
Heat a generous amount of ghee in same pan and add chicken livers, cooking until just cooked through.
Add livers to food processor and let cool slightly.
Add butter and blend until smooth.
Add creme fraiche and seasonings and blend until consistency of pudding.
Spoon out into small ramekins or jars and smooth out the tops.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

At this point you can leave them as is, or if you would like a lovely garnish that will help preserve them longer, seal them up with butter.

Melt 3-4 tablespoons of ghee over low heat. Pour over each chilled mousse, garnishing with a sprig of thyme and cracked pepper. Refrigerate until butter is set.

You can serve alone as an awesome snack, with crackers, bread, pickles, or my personal favorite, lightly marinated cucumbers: Slice a cucumber and season with salt and pepper and a splash of white wine vinegar, keep cold until ready to serve. And as with cheese, it is best to bring your pate out of the refrigerator to warm up a little before serving, about 30 minutes. Did I mention that cheese and pate are BFF's? Well, they are.