Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Best ever Chicken Liver Pate

Get ready for a taste sensation.
Or, here's a tip: if you're able to bottle and market this, you could make a million
You heard it here first...

Most people either love or hate chicken or duck liver.  I love it, though when growing up, liver in our household was usually braised in an Asian-style soy sauce together with giblets.  Mmm, liver and giblets...
Fast-forward to my now more 'sophisticated' tastes, and chicken liver pate is what gets me excited.  This recipe by Belinda Jeffery is what her mother made for an after-school snack. Why didn't my mum ever make this?  Dunno, though the liver and giblets really makes me misty-eyed...

Anyway, back to this recipe - it's so brilliant. The caramelised onion and bacon elevate the chicken liver out of the ordinary, and instead of brandy, I used Grand Marnier, and it adds a subtle sweetness to the pate that is lip-smackingly good.  When served this pate on New Year's day, my guests asked why I didn't sell it, as I'd make the proverbial million.  Well, I don't really fancy spending my days sieving pate, but the thought is true - this pate is that good.     

Chicken Liver Pate
makes approx 3 cups

500g chicken livers, trimmed, sinew removed
3/4 cup (185ml) milk
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 brown onions, chopped
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 bacon rashers, rind removed, chopped
1 tblsp thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
2 tblsp brandy or Grand Marniner
1 1/2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
170g chilled cultured unsalted butter, chopped, plus 80g melted, cooled

1.  Place chicken livers in bowl, cover with milk and refrigerate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
2.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic and bacon, and cook, stirring, for 12 minutes until the onion caramelises.  Mix in thyme, then add brandy (or Grand Marnier) and 1 tablespoon of water, stirring to deglaze the pan.  Transfer to a bowl.
3.  Wipe pan clean and return to high heat with remaining oil.  Drain chicken livers and pat dry with paper towel, then cook for 2-3 minutes each side until browned and slightly crusty but still pink inside.  Add to the bowl with the onion mixture and season well with salt and pepper.
4.  Return pan to heat, splash with vinegar to deglaze the pan again.  Then scrape the juices into the bowl with the livers.  Puree mixture very finely in blender or food processor with the chilled, chopped butter.  For an extra-silky texture use a spatula or spoon to force the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.
5.  Smooth the pate into four 180ml ceramic pots or a 750ml dish.  Pour a thin film of melted butter on top to seal, then top with a thyme sprig.  Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Serve with crusty bread.

recipe adapted from delicious (March 2010)

Ingredients, including Grand Marnier, milk for soaking the chicken livers, bacon, onion, garlic, thyme, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Lurpak-brand butter is cultured and unsalted.

The chopped onions and garlic prior to cooking. 
The pate does not take long to make, but I did spend 45 minutes sieving it to produce a silken smooth result (and yes, it was worth doing!)

Take the pate out of the fridge a few minutes before you want to serve it; the butter seal will soften a bit, making it easier to spoon out.

Serve the pate with toast points or slices of baguette. I found that fresh, soft bread complemented this rich, smooth, gorgeous pate the best.
Tabitha cat has developed a habit of watching while I cook. And also a habit of investigating the end result. Fortunately, the pate was covered with a hygenic layer of plastic wrap before she found them.


  1. Oh wow... it does look sumptious. I shall be adding good old brandy to mine

  2. oh man i had a dream about pate last night! it's like you're in my dreams belle!

  3. When you doctor pate up like this, it's impossible not to love it! Sounds delicious.

  4. Great looking recipe. I have only made pate once and it was really good. I like your addition of the Grand Marnier as little citrus flavour makes everything look good.

    So did the pate get the Tabitha seal of approval?

  5. I grew up eating liver as well so I'd never turn it down. Pate & soft crusty bread ... deeelicious!

  6. I haven't made a liver pate in my whole life. This recipe looks like a winner... it may be the one that finally made me do it! Thanks for sharing, Belle.

  7. That looks delightful Bel! And very smart Tabitha-proofing the end result! ;)

  8. Tabitha is developing a rather adventurous palate there!

    Ahhh, and I miss stir-fried giblets every now and again...though the same can't be said for livers =)

  9. Grand Marnieris a great substitution for brandy! This pate looks divine,an elegant presentation.These pictures look great. Nice work!

  10. I lovelovelove chicken liver pate. It's so easy to make but the dangerous part is not eating it all yourself!

  11. Your chicken pate looks divine! I have never made any pate myself...so afraid of eating them and becoming addictive.
    Love your cat :-))

  12. Oh I love chicken liver pate, but never made it...it sure sounds and looks delicious with Grand Marnier...would love to dig my spoon in this pate right now :-)

  13. Ooh, this looks so rich and wonderful, Bel! My Dad would love it-he's a chicken liver guy. Gosh, I wonder if he would appreciate me describing him like that;-) Oh well...Yum!

  14. ooooo I've never made my own liver pate but i love it in the Viet rolls! best thing ever!! Hope you had a great festive season! Happy new Year sweets xx

  15. Home made pate! Yummmm.. I love pate and I'd love to make my own but the boy doesn't like pate. How about you make and jar it and I'll buy some? :)

  16. Made this recipe a number of times and is is DIVINE!!

  17. This recipe is out of the world!! Made it twice for dinner party and everyone raved about it - thank you very much! But the pain behind this excellent tasting pate - how co u prevent the liver from splattering all over the kitchen when fried in oil, I patted the liver as dry as possible (even let air dried on the counter

  18. The pain is the "dancing" and ducking from the splatters which can be quite amusing but the cleaning after is quite a nightmare though the whole house smelled really good! Appreciate if you have any tip to avoid this? Also, may I ask how much salt do u add?

  19. hi Jess - this is a fantastic recipe, isn't it? Due to the high moisture content of the livers, they will always spit when they hit the oil (and you must have oil to give that nice crust). I use one of those splatter guards on the frypan, and also an oven mitt to protect my hand when turning the livers. Also, no need for salt in the recipe because the bacon is salty enough. Hope you will make lots more batches of this tasty pate!