April 7, 2014

Chicken liver pate

In my quest to do more "head-to-tail" eating, here is my first offal recipe. This was my first time not only making, but also eating chicken liver pate. I first tried chicken livers fried up with onions a couple years ago and, well, I was not a fan. So, I was a bit apprehensive to make pate. I recently tried liver dumpling soup (made with beef liver) and liked it - so I was feeling a bit brave. I know people tend to think that liver is unhealthy, but that isn't the case as long as you are eating livers from healthy, pastured, and properly raised animals. Since we have started buying meat in bulk from local farmers, we have been trying to create ways to try and hopefully enjoy these parts that many people often don't request from the butcher (or may even throw away). These livers came from Green Heron Growers.

So what was the verdict? I thought the pate was good. It wasn't too strong of a flavor and the texture was really nice spread on the baguette. We served our pate with some dill pickles and capers as well as some lingonberry jam. I took turns topping my pate with a few capers or a smear of lingonberries (you could use cranberry or currant jam/jelly) and found that they both provided a nice flavor balance to the pate. It also paired nicely with some of our crabapple mostarda. I'm feeling more confident now to try more offal recipes in the future!

Chicken liver pate
1 lb. organic, pastured chicken livers, trimmed
1 to 1-1/2 cups milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-1/2 teaspoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1/3 cup extra dry vermouth 
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Place the chicken livers in a shallow bowl and cover with the milk. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Then drain through a fine-mesh strainer and gently rinse in cold water.

In a skillet, heat two tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the shallots, garlic, and livers along with the thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened and the livers are cooked through. Then add the vinegar and vermouth to deglaze the pan. Stir well and continue to cook until the liquid is almost all absorbed.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. When cooled, pour everything into the food processor. Add the nutmeg and remaining 3 tablespoons of butter cut into cubes. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl or ramekin and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold.

Serve with toasted baguette, crackers, vegetables, capers, jam, etc. 

What was I cooking one year ago?: Mongolian beef and vegetable stir-fry
Two years ago?: maple-pecan scones
Three?: chipotle-maple glazed pork with with roasted squash and kale
4?: chocolate peanut butter tart


  1. I think the closest I have ever gotten to making a liver pate is buying liverwurst in the deli section. I must admit it is quite an acquired taste but I do quite like it. It must be all of that butter, garlic and vermouth that makes it taste so good.

  2. I love pate, but have never made my own. Will have to try it soon! Hope you have a great week!

  3. I've tried chicken livers before but not never as a puree. This is new to me I should try this someday.

  4. This is a great recipe, Amy. Several times a year I make chopped liver which is really just pate with eggs. Grew up with it and it is in my genes! Never really like cleaning those livers but it is worth it in the end!

  5. This has to be one of my husband's favorite things to eat…there is no telling how much he can eat. :)

  6. My dad always loved this growing up, sending him this link! :)

  7. Good for you for trying something new. It's surprisingly simple to make and quite delish. I just made chicken liver pate today in the class I'm taking.

    1. That's awesome! It's wonderful that you are taking that cooking class!

  8. It looks delicious! We love it and will have to try your version. This is my first visit here and I like your blog!

  9. Good on you for trying offal! It looks great. I make a similar recipe which is basically the same but I add equal weight of butter to liver and it is passed through a sieve after the food processor. It's very rich but people love it.

  10. I love chicken livers in any form and your pate looks great!

  11. Especially on these crispy little breads sounds like the perfect idea!

  12. My sister is a huge fan of pate. Looks delicious!

  13. I'm not a huge fan of pan-fried chicken livers either, but do like them when they're cooked so they're still just pink inside. But why do that when you can make pate? This looks terrific -- thanks.

  14. I'm with you and John - not a fan of chicken livers and onions, or liver and onion for the matter; however, I LOVE chicken liver pate! Thanks for sharing your recipe. It's looks delicious and I would to be spreading it on a piece of bread right now.

  15. I love chicken pate, as a matter of fact I always get it at Trader Joe's...your looks yummy...creamy on the toasted bread.
    Thanks for the recipe Amy...hope you are having a nice week :D

  16. Great liver pate and good for you for making the effort. Hope my series will be an inspiration for you too.


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