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Liver paté - how to make it and how to eat it

iowan515 Nov 21, 2013 11:39 AM

I finally have a weekend free to experiment with cooking. I'd like to make chicken liver paté.

Any basic recipes anyone would care to share?
Can I make it in a blender? I don't have a food processor.

Would something bad happen to me if I ate the entire batch by myself? Considering 1 pound of raw chicken livers to start with.

I've only ever had paté on banh mi sandiwches. How else can I eat it?

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    foxspirit RE: iowan515 Nov 21, 2013 12:00 PM

    I've made this one before and its a real winner. I used an immersion blender to process it so I don't see why a normal blender wouldn't work just fine.


    It makes a lot. I like mine just smeared on a cracker. Eating it all might give you a coronary :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: foxspirit
      eviemichael RE: foxspirit Nov 22, 2013 11:40 AM

      This recipe looks great, I'm going to make it for Christmas Eve. Thanks!

    2. biondanonima RE: iowan515 Nov 21, 2013 12:02 PM

      I make a very basic chicken liver pate using 8oz of butter to one pound of chicken livers. I melt about 4 oz of butter in a small skillet and sweat a small onion and/or shallot in it, then add the livers (cleaned) and cook them gently until they're just barely cooked through. I scrape the contents of the skillet into a food processor and let it cool a bit, then process with the remaining butter until smooth and season to taste. Force it through a tamis if you want a super silky texture.

      That is the basic recipe; I almost always add other flavoring agents. Almost always a bit of brandy and nutmeg, sometimes other liqueurs and spices. You can also fold in some unsweetened whipped cream to give it more of a mousse texture.

      As for eating a whole pound of it - you won't die, but you might feel a little ill afterwards! It keeps a while in the fridge and freezes well, though, so you don't have to eat it all in one sitting. I love it on bread or crackers, used to top grilled meats, hell I'll just eat it by the spoonful, all by itself!

      ETA: the only problem with making it in a blender is that you may have to add some liquid to get it going, which could make your finished product a bit too thin. Depends on your blender, though.

      1. c
        Cheez62 RE: iowan515 Nov 21, 2013 06:12 PM

        I, and others in our family, enjoy this recipe from Emeril:


        I like it spread on toasted, thinly-sliced baguette, or similar toasts. Those little sliced cocktail loaves make great toast for it as well!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cheez62
          iL Divo RE: Cheez62 Nov 22, 2013 10:22 AM

          love the looks of this recipe.
          all things make sense to me and the result oughta be terrfic.
          we're going to our DIL's polish familys' Thanksgiving celebration. talking to the kid a few minutes ago, asking what he wanted me to bring, I'm adding this or the epi recipe to my offerings. now if I could only find that gosh darn recipe for MS Easter bread to spread it on with the home made mayo containing HBE, I'd be very pleased.

          1. re: Cheez62
            wakondatch RE: Cheez62 Nov 22, 2013 12:50 PM

            This is my go to recipe for chicken liver pate. I make it 3 or 4 times a year. Kids, grandkids and friends love it. The only change I make is substituting capers for the green peppercorns, but only because I usually have capers on hand and not green peppercorns.

          2. Ttrockwood RE: iowan515 Nov 21, 2013 07:19 PM

            The jewish deli in my neighborhood in nyc has a turkey, liver pate, coleslaw and russian dressing sandwich as well as one with the pate, chopped hard boiled eggs and tomato/onion/lettuce.

            I can't vouch for either but the eggs and pate combo is something i see often

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ttrockwood
              biondanonima RE: Ttrockwood Nov 21, 2013 07:22 PM

              I love eggs and pate - you can put it inside an omelet, or put a smear on a hardboiled egg. So good!

              My favorite post-Thanksgiving sandwich is made with pate (I usually make it for Thanksgiving). I take a slice of buttery sourdough toast, put a thick layer of pate on it, top it with cranberry sauce and then sharp cheddar. Leave it open-faced and melt the cheese under the broiler. Fabulous.

              1. re: biondanonima
                iL Divo RE: biondanonima Nov 22, 2013 10:29 AM

                one of the reasons I'd do the pate for our TG day meal is it's not something I remember seeing as an appy. starting off the festivities with really good appetizers is a great way to set the tone for the celebration. gad I'm excited, thanks for sharing that memory biond

            2. s
              smtucker RE: iowan515 Nov 21, 2013 07:47 PM

              I love to serve paté with some bread toasts, whole grain mustard, cornichons, any pickled veggies and a really nice bottle of wine.

              5 Replies
              1. re: smtucker
                iL Divo RE: smtucker Nov 22, 2013 10:31 AM

                since I'll be doing pate now smtucker, what kind of wine would you suggest to go along with it? I'll do corni's too plus I'll make the crusty bread for slicing thin. TIA

                1. re: iL Divo
                  biondanonima RE: iL Divo Nov 22, 2013 10:40 AM

                  It's delicious with either dry or off-dry Riesling - I particularly like the way the sweetness of an off-dry one cuts through the richness. Rose' or any sparkling wine is great with it too.

                  1. re: biondanonima
                    iL Divo RE: biondanonima Nov 26, 2013 09:30 AM

                    just bought a bottle of a very light pink sparkling wine.
                    seriously, I bought it because I adored the bottle.
                    bought it as a hostess gift for TG but if you think it'd work along side the pate, I'm going to Von's today anyway, just pick up another bottle. thanks.

                  2. re: iL Divo
                    smtucker RE: iL Divo Nov 22, 2013 07:12 PM

                    I tend to make Pate de Campagne.... which is a pate with livers, seasonings. I line the pan with caul fat and bake at a low temperature in a bain marie. I enjoy a robust Cote du Rhone with this, but a dry Reisling could work nicely. I am just a lover of a robust red.

                    1. re: smtucker
                      iL Divo RE: smtucker Nov 26, 2013 09:32 AM

                      also bought same time, well I bought a total of 9 bottles, 2 of them are called dark chocolate red wine, again, more for the bottle than the contents but, may be too rich for this already very rich appetizer.

                2. iL Divo RE: iowan515 Nov 22, 2013 10:01 AM

                  I really looked for the MS pate recipe that she featured on an Easter program recipes included. all I can find is they're no longer on her web site. sorry for that as it was so good, the easter bread the home made mayo and the pate that I barely even got to taste 'uhfer' it was gone.

                  1. i
                    Indy 67 RE: iowan515 Nov 22, 2013 10:46 AM

                    Here's my favorite version from Craig Claiborne's 1966 cookbook, The New York Times Menu Cookbook. I was originally attracted to it for the addition of curry powder which I don't believe is a routine ingredient.

                    Chicken Liver Pate (paraphrased)

                    2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
                    2 lbs chicken livers
                    2 medium onions, quartered
                    1 teaspoon curry powder
                    1 teaspoon paprika
                    1/4 teaspoon salt
                    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                    2 tablespoons Cognac

                    Melt one half cup butter in a sauté pan. Add the next six ingredients in the list. Cover and cook everything for eight minutes over low heat.

                    Place the mixture in the container of a blender and blend until smooth. Add the Cognac and the remaining butter. Blend briefly. Chill until firm.

                    The original recipe called for molding the pate and covering it with slices of pimento-stuffed olives. I've never done that.

                    I recommend you put a piece of plastic in direct contact with the pate while it is in the refrigerator. Otherwise, the dehumidifying feature of modern refrigerators has a tendency to dry out surface of the food.

                    1. b
                      Bkeats RE: iowan515 Nov 22, 2013 10:56 AM

                      I will sound persnickety but none of the suggestions I have seen are for pate. At best they're recipes for a mousse.

                      The chicken liver pate used for a banh mi will be raw chicken livers that are minced, seasoned and cooked in a pan to create a loaf. Still not true pate as there is no crust (the reason it was originally called pate) but the texture of a pate is completely different from something where the liver is cooked first and then blitzed in a blender until smooth.

                      I like to eat pate with nothing more than some good bread, mustard and pickled vegetables.

                      As long as you don't have any cholesterol issues, a pound of chicken livers will do you no harm.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Bkeats
                        biondanonima RE: Bkeats Nov 22, 2013 10:57 AM

                        How so? Define the difference?

                        1. re: biondanonima
                          Bkeats RE: biondanonima Nov 22, 2013 12:06 PM

                          Pate was originally minced meat of various types cooked in a crust - pate means dough. The crust disappeared in many versions and often got replaced by a layer of lard. But the idea was to mince the meat which could be fine or chunky and then cook it in the pastry shell or fat coating until the inside were cooked and set. Once cool, you can slice the pate and serve. Cooking chicken livers and chopping them in a blender results in a mousse de foie de volaille.

                          1. re: Bkeats
                            biondanonima RE: Bkeats Nov 22, 2013 12:44 PM

                            Actually, pâte (with only a circonflex accent on the a, no accent aigu on the e) means dough. Pâté is a different, though possibly related, word. Pâté en croute refers to a pâté (of whatever type) in a crust.

                            Anyway, I think of the chunky type of pâté you're referring to as a country pâté (or pâté de campagne). If I order something that isn't referred to as country pâté, I expect it to be smooth, but very dense and slice-able. I expect a liver mousse or pâté mousse to have been lightened with whipped cream and be much more spreadable.

                        2. re: Bkeats
                          lagatta RE: Bkeats Nov 22, 2013 12:59 PM

                          Yes, I'd love to see a recipe for true terrine (indeed pâté has a crust, but often terrines are called pâtés nowadays). I made the mousse type from duck livers and it was rather too liquid. When I made it from duck livers, I added duck fat rather than butter. I'd love any suggestions to improve it.

                          By duck livers, I do not mean foie gras, just ordinary livers. They are delicious but very rich, however duck fat is supposedly more salubrious than chicken or most other animal fats.

                        3. i
                          iowan515 RE: iowan515 Nov 22, 2013 10:57 AM

                          OP here. Thanks for the replies. I just got back from the Asian grocery store over lunch (just assuming offal would be cheaper there) and they only had fresh chicken liver in 2-lb tubs so I got one of those. It was $1 a pound - pretty good deal!

                          It's going to be about 15 degrees F for the high tomorrow so I'll stay inside and try my hand at cooking this tomorrow. Friday night's for beer.

                          1. e
                            ellabee RE: iowan515 Nov 22, 2013 05:48 PM

                            My favorite recipe is the one in the Silver Palate women's New Basics cookbook p.10.

                            Basically, cook down some onions in butter (or, better, schmaltz - rendered chicken fat). Chop up with the prepped livers (cleaned, soaked, cooked), and a good splash of cognac, with a bit of cream or creme fraiche as needed for texture and smoothness.

                            An immersion blender is a real help in getting the mixture smooth, if that's the texture you want. It improves as it mellows in the fridge (in ramekins with a 'lid' of clarified butter.

                            I eat it with crackers or crusty bread and pickled veg. One of my favorite meals in the world; have fun this weekend!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ellabee
                              Veggo RE: ellabee Nov 22, 2013 05:59 PM

                              So many recipes for pate don't involve the cooking of the chicken or duck liver, I don't get that part. I have only made duck liver pate. I lightly sautee the cleaned livers with translucent onions (use a small dense yellow onion, you want to minimize the liquid), add the butter, cream, cognac, and white pepper, heat briefly, then blend and strain the whole mess, fold it into crocks, and bake the crocks in a pan with an inch of water for an hour, so it essentially heats them thoroughly. I let the crocks cool, cover them with a pour of duck fat, Saran, and freeze. I am amazed by how many Google duck liver pates don't cook the duck livers at all. Something is missing there.

                              1. re: Veggo
                                CapeCodGuy RE: Veggo Nov 22, 2013 07:19 PM

                                Raw liver in pate? Never. Indeed, something is wrong there.

                                1. re: Veggo
                                  ellabee RE: Veggo Nov 22, 2013 08:51 PM

                                  With something like an organ meat, it does pay to read and grasp the time-tested approaches of the classics first.

                              2. s
                                sandylc RE: iowan515 Nov 22, 2013 07:24 PM

                                I like chopped liver made with lots of sweet yellow onions, lots of butter, and some dry sherry. It's great on French bread toasts, or a great sandwich is this: fresh egg bread, crisp bacon, and ripe tomato slices, with a thick layer of chopped liver.

                                1. iL Divo RE: iowan515 Nov 26, 2013 01:18 PM

                                  I made CL pate and used/combined 3 of the recipes on here. tasting it out of the FP, I'm very pleased. very rich, creamy with notes of cognac, thyme and the flavors of the duxelle.
                                  it's molded and in frig for TG. made 2 baguettes today, they're sliced for the big day to go with the pate. now on to the apple/pear/cherry pie mixture and the crust, then I'll save and bake at the kids' house.

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