I call this recipe “Illegal” since it’s best with lots of butter and duck fat, and a little Brandy, Bourbon or Cognac. It makes a lot, and keeps for a week in the fridge or longer in the freezer. Pate with brandy is very tasty!
I’ve made this basic recipe for years, changing the herbs or liquor, or adding a few mushrooms to the saute phase. Give it a day or two before eating for the flavors to deepen. If you use several small ramekins instead of a pâté crock or terrine, you may need more ghee to seal the tops. You’ll need a 2 1/2-cup terrine or several small ramekins, straight-sided, not bowls.
Accompaniments: gluten-free or grain-free crackers, Cornichon pickles, good mustards. Or serve on cucumbers, carrots, etc.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (get a fresh bottle if yours is old)
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of connective tissue
2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
2-4 TB. ghee for the top
Melt butter in a large skillet over moderately low heat and cook onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add herbs, salt, pepper, allspice, and livers and cook, stirring, until livers are cooked outside but still pink when cut open, about 8 minutes. Stir in bourbon and remove from heat. Purée in a food processor until smooth, then transfer pâté to crock(s) and smooth the top.
If using an herb garnish, put a sprig of thyme, marjoram or sage on top of pâté. Then spoon enough ghee over pâté to cover its surface. If the pate is warm, the ghee will melt. If cool, soften the ghee first.
Chill pâté uncovered until ghee is firm, about 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours to 2 days more. Keeps for 2 weeks if the ghee “seal” is unbroken.
- Try Brandy, Cognac or Rum instead of Bourbon.
- Increase the herbs by 50% (but not the allspice).
- Substitute chicken or duck fat for up to 30% of the butter. (YUM!)
- Try other livers than chicken — elk, venison, etc.
- Use Herbs de Provence instead of the Marjoram and Thyme.
- Additional serving sides could be capers and chopped red onion.
- This makes a LOT of pate, so freeze some in its ramekin, or, slice and freeze between sheets of waxed paper. For a different presentation, line ramekins or crock with plastic wrap, put a sprig of sage on the bottom and press in pate on top. Eliminate the ghee topping. Cool, then cover and store. Serve by inverting whole onto a plate. Add some to baby’s food, or sneak into family stews – it’s a great way to get liver in the diet if they don’t go for the pate and toppings.
- Isn’t this easy? Note: use a soft sided spatula to scrape it all out of your food processor.