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
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:
by Luke Nguyen Hanoi
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...