serves 6 -8
8 tablespoons butter
3-5 shallots (or a large red onion), sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 pound chicken livers, drained
1 cup port wine, cognac or brandy
4-6 tablespoons cream
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
zest of 1 lemon
you’ll also need crostini, bread or crackers for serving
Chicken livers are available frozen at many grocery stores – we find organic ones in the freezer section of Whole Foods. Once you master this recipe, you won’t be afraid to experiment with other types of liver (like duck) or other herbs and flavorings (like duck liver with sage and orange zest, with cognac.)
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and allow them to soften as you stir, about 3 -5 minutes. Add the chicken livers and continue cooking until the livers are just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Next, deglaze the pan with the port and allow it to reduce almost completely.
Transfer the ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor, and whiz away. A plop of cream, while not necessary, brings an extra level of decadence and richness, so go for it! Give the pâté a taste, you’ll most likely find that more salt and pepper are needed.
Transfer the pâté to its serving vessel.
In a small pot or pan, melt the remaining butter. You can clarify it if you like, by skimming off the solids that appear at the top. (We usually don’t bother.) Add the thyme and lemon zest, allowing them to infuse the melted butter, then pour it on top of the pâté. Not only does this create a delicious butter (to be smeared with the pâté on your crostini), but it protects the pâté from drying out and discoloring in the fridge.
Transfer the pâté to the fridge to set, it will need at least several hours (or overnight). Bring to room temperature before serving (about 20 minutes out of the fridge).