Had I known how easy and quick it is to make the basic chicken liver pate I would have been on it right away! Somehow, I got used to buying it and never really thought of making it myself – no idea why!
A friend lent me a Jamie Oliver’s cookbook from 2002 (Jamie’s Kitchen) recently and this was where I found a recipe to make this beauty.
A slice of toasted sourdough with a nice layer of this silky smooth chicken liver pate topped up with fresh tomato and a sprinkle of salt is one of my favourite quick, open style sandwiches. Right next to the one with Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese! So good!
Now that I have a beautiful base recipe to enjoy I can flavour it the way my little heart desires – and let me tell you: there will be loads of pate in my kitchen in the coming weeks!
So for the basic recipe you need 1lb chicken livers (which are literally cheaper than beans by the way). I know that somehow they never look very appealing in the meat aisle surrounded by the proud whole chickens, or chicken legs or breasts, but what an amazing flavour they become when mixed with onions, garlic, butter and a little brandy!
Seriously, after making this pate once, you’ll have a completely new attitude toward livers (chicken, calves, or any other) all together. When cooked right, they become the most delicious toast topper you’ll be proud to offer as a snack or a starter to your guests and family.
Chicken liver pate cooking notes:
- You can replace the 2 shallots with 1 medium yellow onion – shallots are a bit milder, but frankly, I made my first pate with yellow onion and it was delicious.
- The recipe in the book says to add 1 large glass of brandy (250ml / 1 cup) and I believe it is a mistake. The pate I made following the recipe from Jamie’s book was completely overpowered by brandy. I found a close online version of this recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website and it says to use only a small glass of brandy (125ml / ½ cup), which makes way more sense, considering that the proportions of everything else are very close to the recipe printed in the book. Some other chicken liver pate recipes I came across instead of brandy use wine (Madeira wine seem popular) or a mixture of both. There is no wrong or right way really – it is just a matter of your taste I guess. Your pate will set just fine either way.
- The seal on the top of the pate is important to extend your pate’s shelf life, but if you’d rather use the jelly seal instead it will do the job too. Here is a simple idea from David Lebovitz:
Jelly seal for chicken liver pate (or any other for that matter)
2 tablespoons water, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons port wine, 2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin granules, pinch of ground allspice
Put the water and 2 tablespoons of the port in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let sit 5 minutes.
In a small pan, warm the 1/2 cup of the port with the sugar, allspice, then pour it over the softened gelatin, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool until it’s tepid, then pour it over the back of a spoon (to avoid creating a divot in the pate), over the chilled pate.
- Here are a few other interesting ways of making the chicken liver pate and a few vegetarian ones you might want to try too: Pâté de campagne, Moroccan Chickpea Pâté, Julia Child’s Chicken Liver Mousse, Brussels Sprouts and Horseradish Pate.
- 1 ¾ cups (300g) salted butter - softened
- 1 medium yellow onion (or 2 shallots) - chopped
- 3 plump garlic cloves - sliced
- 1lb (450g) chicken livers - cleaned
- 1 small wine glass (125ml) of brandy or an equivalent amount of brandy mixed with dry, red wine
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh thyme - leaves picked (or ¾ tablespoon of dry thyme)
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 225F (107C), place ½ cup (113g) butter in an ovenproof container and melt until it has separated. Strain off the clarified butter into another bowl and set aside. Discard the milky part of the butter.
- On a slow heat, fry onions and garlic until soft in 2-3 tbsp of butter for about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions and garlic and place them in a food processor.
- Increase the heat to medium and add livers and thyme to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly coloured, but still a little pink inside. If you overcook them the pate will be grainy.
- Pour the alcohol into the pan and allow to bubble for a few minutes. (You can flame it until the alcohol cooks off, but be very careful not to set anything else on fire!)
- Let it all cool off a bit before transferring to the food processor with onions, garlic and the rest of the butter (except the clarified one!). Liquidise it all until silky smooth. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and when done push the pate through the sieve at least once before dividing between serving dishes, making sure that the top surface is as leveled as possible.
- Gently pour the clarified butter over the parfaits to create a seal and cut the oxygen access. Place the parfaits in the fridge to set and store refrigerated. They should keep for 2 weeks if the seal is not disturbed and so it is kept airtight.
This recipe was copied from Jamie Oliver's cookbook "Jamie's Kitchen", 2002.