HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


favorite chicken liver pate recipes?

I'm making a pate to bring to a holiday party next Saturday, and I'd love to hear your favorite recipes. I'm talking chicken liver pate.

My favorite is from Joy of Cooking, and it involves butter (of course), shallots, livers, a Golden Delicious apple, Calvados and heavy cream.

I loves the apple-y hints to this pate, but I've relied on it for too long and would like to try something new.

Pate-like items that I've clipped from food sections over the years but never tried: Balthazar's chicken liver mousse, AOC's chicken liver crostini with pancetta, chicken "faux gras" from Michel Richard's "Happy in the Kitchen" (which has an appealingly green parsley gelee on top).

Any thoughts or favorites out there? All help is much appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Thanks. That one does look great, and is actually "healthier" than the JOC one, which calls for something like 12 tablespoons of butter. However, the BLT one is supposed to be served warm, which may pose a problem for me in a cocktail party setting.

      Any other favorites? Or are chowhounds not particularly inclined to make their own pate?

      1. re: missyp

        Don't worry about the warm part, room temp is just fine. It's at it's optimum flavor, at least, at room temp or warm, which is why, I think, BLT recommended it be served that way. Anything other than chilled chicken liver pate is fine. If you like the recipe, which I do, go for it.

    2. I've only made Jacques Pepin's


      The ratio of butter to liver seemed to high. On my second try, I reduced the butter by one third and I thought it was just right.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bizkat

        Ooh, I'd be interested to taste test two batches side by side, one made with cognac and one with scotch. Plus of course then I'd have both cognac and scotch in the house :D

      2. one more that might be of interest - i just spotted it in the current issue of Food & Wine. it's from Shook & Dotolo, the owners of Animal restaurant in LA:

        1. I'm watching this thread with interest as I plan on making chicken liver pate for Christmas Eve. Most of the reipes I have tried in the past had too much butter and didn't taste livery enough. Someone here (maybe Caroline1?) recommended sauteeing the chicken livers in goose fat (which I happen to have) and said they'd taste like foie gras, so I planned to do that.

          1. Thanks, everybody. I ended up making the BLT recipe with the port syrup. Though it didn't totally blow me away, it was quite delicious and I would make it again. I didn't have duck fat and used the alternate olive oil. I'd like to try it with the duck fat.

            I served it warm and it stayed out at the party at room temp.

            1 Reply
            1. re: missyp

              i never even noticed the olive oil alternative. gotta go with the duck fat! it really adds a richness and another layer of flavor that you just won't get with oil. but i'm glad you enjoyed it anyway.

            2. A relatively simple and very good recipe can be found at Food Network. It's the Emeril Lagasse 2003 recipe. I also added half a jar of truffles (in olive oil and drained), chopped. It's not as silky as some but it's very good. I caught my husband in the fridge with a spoon in his hand, trying to violate a large ramkin of pate before it had chilled sufficiently. Tho it did my heart good, I still wacked him with the spoon. Give it a shot and let us know what you think!

              1. Here's one from an old Gourmet Magazine. It's very easy. I always double the allspice and add a little more salt.


                1. I love the faux gras chicken liver pate recipies I've locate here and elsewhere but, as I'm the only one in the family into pate' faux, fois or otherwise, even one lb of it is going to take me quite a long time to get through without completely blowing my own liver out. Does anyone have any experience on freezing this? Would the lecithin addition solve possible sepration problems when thawing slowly in the fridge later? How long can I reasonably expect a liver and fat emulsion to last in the fridge, assuming that I only dip a clean spoon into container and never put anything else into the container and keep in well covered deep in the recesses of a properly temperature controlled fridge?

                  My only modification to the existing recipes I've seen is one I got form an Elle cook book - poach the livers gently in dry white wine. I like this better than saute'ing beacuse it's just too easy to go from saute to charcoal for me (7 year old in the house) and because the family objects to the odor of sauteeing liver so strongly. The poaching method is dead easy and smells great. I'm not spending much time fussing over the livers and all I have to do is poach for a few minutes until they firm up. I take them out, slice open and if they need a bit more time, then back in their wine spa they go. Sure I lose flavor on the one hand but the saute is so short that the fond developed is fiarly minimal so I don't think I'm losing all that much.

                  So thoughts and suggestions?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: aggiecat

                    I always freeze my chicken liver pate (and have always sauteed them--although I may try your technique as I often over cook them), and thaw it, with excellent results. I don't find that it keeps more than 2-3 days in the fridge once I've broken into it.

                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      Yep, once I get into it it's haaaaaard to stop. Yum. I'm going to try the lower butter ratio ones so that they are less evil that the version I've been making. I'll be cooking this weekend and will report back on the success or failure in a few weeks.

                    2. re: aggiecat

                      Poaching in the wine sounds nice. Do you reduce it after and add to the pate? I'm keen to give it a go.

                      Also, I've made small amounts pate (mainly b/c I was in experimental mode). I made a few mini-batches of just one ramekin (about 6 oz.) worth. Maybe that would work for you. It's even not a bad size for drinks, if it's just a few people. And you could experiment more!

                      1. re: cinnamon girl

                        Nope, I just poach in it and then, I suppose I could reduce it and add but I've never bothered. Made a batch last weekend and had 3 pyrex custard cups full. I've frozen 2 and the other is slowly being rationed out. I'll make myself ill if I eat too much at one sitting and no one else in my house likes it. Sigh. Also, I didn't bother with onions, or shallots or really anything but livers, butter, quatre epices and conac, Which I didn't have so I used port instead. Quite good still. I still can't believe I can't find the conac bottle. Must have dissappeared in the move.

                        1. re: aggiecat

                          Oh that quatre epices sounds nice. Classic. I never think of it.

                      2. re: aggiecat

                        The faux gras recipe that I saw on Diary of a Foodie is the best chicken liver pate I've made. Not like real foie but still very good

                      3. My favorite is more a mousse from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". It's the Chicken Liver Mousse (Mousse de Foies de Volaille). It's SO rich, creamy and decedent! I brought it to a party once and several people asked for the recipe. And, (maybe 5 yrs ago) it only cost about $6-7 to make....providing you already have the madeira/cognac and spices. But, you definitely want to let it set for a while in the fridge...I made it in the morning for the evening party. I found the recipe here: http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/chicke...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LifeOfSpice

                          That looks good; I'm going to try it next time.

                        2. I just tried the Michel Richard's version and it is amazing! I've had it in his restaurant and the recipe turns out a product that is almost exactly like the restaurant version. Only difference that I note is that my version isn't as smooth as the "official" version. This could be due to the fact I used a food processor vs. a blender, which the recipe calls for. And I omitted the parsley gelee because I'm not a big parsley fan and it just added an extra step to what is otherwise an extremely simple recipe. Seriously, this is going to the top of my all time favorite dishes and will probably be my go-to hostess gift.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: mjhals

                            Good to hear! I friend printed this recipe for me a couple of years ago and I keep forgetting I have it. Also the huge amount of butter might have scared me off. He was the first I heard use the term "faux gras".

                            I read that some places pass the chicken livers through a mesh sieve (probably medium as opposed to fine), b/c apparently no matter how much you blend, process or even vitamix [sp?] you're never going to get every little sinew out. So proponents of the sieving technique say not to bother cleaning off the sinews etc., b/c you're going to get rid of them all sieving anyway. The result is purported to be extremely smooth and silky. One day I'll try it and report back.

                            1. re: cinnamon girl

                              cinnamon girl said "The result is purported to be extremely smooth and silky."

                              That it is! Give it a try cg.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                Yowsa! You tried it scubadoo? Tell me what you do - do you use a medium mesh sieve? Did you saute any shallots or anything with the livers and did those go through the sieve okay too? Then I assume you work in some butter, or cream, or whatever after?

                                1. re: cinnamon girl

                                  I followed the recipe, which is not typical for me, but on this I did it exactly like they said to. I did not make the gele'e though


                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                    Thank you Scubadoo. I don't recall my MR version being sieved (or having the gelee which I too will ignore). This will most certainly be the next version I try as it combines two things I've been wanting to try for a year or two: Michel R's faux gras and the sieve method.

                                    I've often wondered why when you see recipes for seared foie gras they inevitably tell you to save the fat for cooking eggs and potatoes etc (which to me isn't that appealing), yet no one ever suggests cooking chicken livers in it for faux gras. Or even blending a little of it in (cooled of course), with the butter. Thoughts on this? Not that I have any at the moment. Quel dommage.

                                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                                      how bout plain ole duck fat? I save mine from the last time I broke down a couple of ducks. Rendered the fat and used it to do a confit of the legs. Still have the fat in the outside fridge. Mmmm, good though cg.

                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                        funny you should mention that. Last time I made a small batch of pate I sauteed everything in a generous amount of duck fat. Another time I'll use it as part of the finishing (with the butter) as well. And anyway, that'll make it practically health food, right?

                                        Did you get enough fat for the confit from the two ducks or did you have to augment with some fat you already had? I take it you're going to use the same fat again, yes? After all you confit at a pretty low temp . . . At my local butcher, one confit leg is about $10.

                                        1. re: cinnamon girl

                                          My first attempt barely had enough fat to confit the legs and wings. The second one used the fat from the first duck so you accumulate as you go. My wife really doesn't like duck :( so I don't make it as often as I would like.

                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            Oh interesting - I wouldn't have thought to confit the wings. I was visualizing how much good fat the wings would render and maybe buying a couple of extra legs to confit in all that fat (along with the rest of the duck's fat of course). Thanks. One duck at a time is more manageable for me.

                              2. re: cinnamon girl

                                I think sieving it would definitely make a difference, and that's almost certainly how the restaurant prepares it, as their version is just sublimely silky. Still, the recipe turned out awesome without that step, closer in texture to a mousse than a smooth, buttery pudding texture. To be honest, I got a little squeamish just from pureeing the raw liver, so I don't think I'd like to handle it much more than that.
                                It does call for a huge amount of butter, and I think your idea of sauteeing the ingredients in duck fat would give it more of a meaty, heartier flavor. As is, I'd say the main flavor profile is fat (but in a very, very good way- almost like foie gras flavored butter). I was even thinking of finishing the onion saute with a little cognac to cut the richness a bit. It's such a simple recipe (and cheap!) that it lends itself really well to fun variations.

                                1. re: mjhals

                                  You know when I first had foie gras I found a similarity to eating really good butter. From a textural point of view. So I can see why this recipe uses a large amount of butter.

                                  1. re: mjhals

                                    I haven't made this particular recipe yet. The versions I've made I've had to clean the livers of their sinews etc, saute, deglaze (coincidentally I've never not used cognac) and then puree, adding the fat(s) of choice.

                                    I just dug out the recipe I plan on combining it with. It calls for doing the above (but with less cleaning - just clean off any green bile bits and major connective threads), then let cool and pass through a food mill or medium mesh sieve. The unwanted bits will remain behind. This would be a lot less handling of the raw livers Mjhals, so maybe would make you less squeamish?