I was deterred from eating liver at very early age following a few grim encounters. On one occasion, I vividly recall telling my Nanna that I hated liver. She corrected me quickly and sternly told me that I had not eaten her version. I told her that it was in fact her dish that I last ate and hated. And so, my aversion was firmly imprinted and I refused to eat anything liverish for a very long time.
As I have often written throughout this blog, my core rule of thumb is to try everything at least once. And just because you hated it as a child does not mean you will still hate it. My advice is to try it again. So, it follows that when I tried chicken liver pâté again, I discovered that I loved it.
The most important piece of advice is to not over cook the livers. You must watch the clock and check the colour as you go. The livers must still be blushing pink. If you over cook them, the resulting pâté will be grainy and unpleasant. You can also replace the chicken with duck livers, or you can mix half and half. You can also change the herbs and seasoning to make your own flavour.
100g chicken livers, fresh
100g butter, cubed
1 shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced or crushed
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
1 tbs port
2 tbs brandy
Sea salt and pepper
100g butter, extra for the top layer
1 tbs fresh parsley
Cracked pepper, extra
Place the chicken livers, shallot and garlic in a hot pan with the olive oil. Sauté the livers for about four minutes. It is critical to make sure the livers are still pink inside. Remove the livers from the pan and set them aside, leaving the shallot and garlic to continue sautéing in the pan.
Add the thyme, port and brandy. Gently scrape the pan juices together to make sure all the caramelized flavours are incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the livers together with the shallot, garlic, port and brandy reduction in to the bowl of a food processor. Blitz the ingredients for a few minutes. Continue blitzing and add the butter cube-by-cube, ensuring each cube melts into the forming pâté before adding the next. Season generously with salt and pepper. Taste the mixture to make sure there is enough seasoning.
Pour the pâté into a small ramekin or serving dish, cover it with cling film and place it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Slowly melt the extra 100g of butter in a small saucepan. When the white milk solids rise to the top, remove the saucepan from the heat for a few minutes. Line the inside of a strainer with a few layers of muslin cloth and place it over a clean heatproof jug. Pour the melted butter through the muslin cloth and strainer. Remove and discard the milk solids in the cloth.
Place the clean dry fresh herbs on top of the pâté and gently pour the clarified butter on the top to the depth of at least one centimetre. Season generously with freshly cracked black pepper. Cover and return the pâté to the fridge for a few hours to allow the butter to solidify.
Once the butter has set, it is ready to serve.