Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vietnamese chicken pork liver pâté and a bad cat

A couple of weeks ago, the Sydney Morning Herald had available some free downloads of extracts from recent cookbooks. I had good intentions of downloading them all, but in the end only managed to get a couple. One of them was the Hanoi chapter from Luke Nguyen’s Indochine book.

Indochine is more than a cookbook; it’s more of a memoir and travel journal of life in Vietnam, intermixed with life stories of the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine. I’ve only read this Hanoi section and it’s very entertaining.

This recipe for chicken and pork liver pâté is also interesting, and I wanted to try it to compare to my benchmark go-to version of chicken liver pâté. This one uses pork liver and pork mince as well, and it gives the pâté a very liver-y flavour, so you’d have to like liver to like it, I think. I prefer the chicken liver-only version, but this one would probably be better in a bánh mi with some pickled carrot, pork belly and (evil) coriander.

Chicken and Pork Liver Pâté
Serves 6

200g (7oz) pork livers
200g (7oz) chicken livers
100g (3 ½ oz) butter, softened
100g (3 ½ oz) minced pork
2 French shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tblsp brandy, Cognac or Grand Marnier
4 tblsp pouring cream
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper

1. Clean the livers of fat and sinew. Cut the livers to be the same size, about half the size of a chicken liver. Wash under cold, running water, then dry well with paper towels.

2. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a large frypan over medium heat. Add the livers and fry for 2-3 minutes, until brown on the outside but still pink on the inside. Remove from the pan to a plate.

3. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the pork mince to the pan and cook through, about 2 minutes (do not brown the meat). Remove pork from the pan and place with the livers.

4. Wipe the pan clean, then add 2 teaspoons of butter and fry the shallots and garlic for 5 minutes, until the onion is lightly caramelised. Increase the heat and return the lives and pork to the pan. Pour in the brandy/Cognac and ignite the alcohol, or allow the alcohol to bubble away for 1-2 minutes.

5. Place the liver mixture, together with the remaining butter and cream, into a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into clean ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature with fresh baguettes.

recipe adapted from Indochine: Hanoi by Luke Nguyen

Ingredients, including chopped shallots, butter and chicken and pork livers and a splash of Grand Marnier.
The resultant pâté resembles cat food, which is why Tabitha cat perked up when she saw it.
And that's a wooden piggy chopping board that I got for my birthday.

Take the pâté out of the fridge about 30 minutes before eating, to soften it up a bit.
It's pretty good with some crusty bread.

I'll finish off with a picture of a bad cat. That's Henry, a neighbouring Burmese. Henry has been flocking around for the past few weeks, stalking Tabitha by eating her cat grass and catnip, lying in her favourite spots (on the warm pavers and on the wall), scratching up the back doormat (there were clumps of coir all over the yard and the mat had to be binned). Oh, and he murdered my goldfish (Spot) by scooping him out of the pond and leaving him on the ground in the sun. Evil Henry. You'll get what's coming to you, buddy.
PS: The glass on the doors has been cleaned since this picture was taken.
All the better to see Henry with...


  1. Aw poor Henry. Maybe you should put some chilli in this delicious pate and feed it to him. Either that or push him into the pond.

  2. Despite not liking eating livers, I do love liver pate. I've never thought to make it from scratch. To be honest, I think pate in a can tastes great. I can only imagine what freshly made liver pate would taste like.. mmm

  3. I love liver pate, but never made it since my husband cannot stand it :(
    Have a wonderful week ahead Bel :)

  4. Hahaha, that last photo is PERFECT. The juxtaposition of good and evil could not have been more skilfully conveyed :D

    I love Vietnamese pate! And yours look so deliciously smooth!

  5. I have never made pate before. I think I will try your go-top recipe first though. This does look interesting but I am a little afraid of the pork livers. LOVE the good cat/bad cat pic. I agree with John, push him in the pond

  6. Evil Henry does sound like a real menance! I'd be very cross about the goldfish, and resting in Tabitha's favourtie spots is just not on!

  7. We used to have a Russian blue living in the house behind us who's absolutely in LOVE with our cat. We'd open the blinds in the evening and see him just standing outside the glass door, staring in. Creepy! Another time he got in and chased our cat around the house. Not fun :(

  8. You've somehow made pate look appealing...which is really no easy feat!

  9. I've always been too nervous to make pate - liver and I only just get along and I don't want to push the friendship :)

    (Also, that cat looks pure evil. Bad bad cat indeed!)

  10. BUmmer~ I missed out on that cookbook. pate looks so good. I usually have too much of a good thing.

  11. My husband loves to have German farmer bread with liver pate.
    LOL@ your cats' story... poor Tabitha..but maybe she enjoys the company too.

  12. Happy New Year to you! Loving the look of that piggy chopping board and always good to see Tabitha popping up in your photos haha.

    And *gasp* evil murderous Henry...

  13. He really is awful! poor Little Miss/Mr Goldfish. RIP. I've been tweaking a liver pate recipe of my own over the past few months. perhaps mixing two different types of liver is what it needs. thank you for sharing the recipe.

  14. This sounds delicious, will definitely give it a go in the future. Poor goldfish, whet did he ever do to Henry?

  15. I've always wanted to make pate. This does sound pretty awesome. Lol at the evil cat....and OMG thats the BEST chopping board EVER!

  16. We must have VERY similar taste, cause everything you make I LOVE.

    I'm a newbie to cooking, so your recipes and pictures will be very helpful for me!