This year Dad & Ma raised broiler chickens once again for family consumption and we specifically had our eye on the livers for a decadent pate for the Holiday.
I have to say I was anxious to try the pate with these homegrown livers because so far, everything that I've tasted that has been raised or farmed locally has been superior to anything I've ever had of the same purchased in a grocery store.
These livers are no exception.
"Clean" is the best way to describe the delicate flavor. Accented by perfectly matched herbs, shallots, garlic and onions. I believe I've hit upon a really good recipe. As always, I research classic recipes and techniques before striking out on my own. This recipe is an adaptation of the classic Jacques Pepin recipe in Food & Wine magazine.
If you can get your hands on some local, organically raised chicken livers, please do. At the risk of sounding like an episode of "Portlandia", ask your source what the chickens were fed and under what conditions they were raised. Honestly, if they were farm raised and fed a good organic diet, allowed to scratch for bugs, eat some natural vegetation and had time in a nice environment, they really will taste better!
Chicken Liver Pate
1 lb. fresh chicken livers
2 sticks unsalted butter -room temp
1 small shallot - minced
1/2 small yellow onion minced
3 cloves garlic-minced
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. herbs de Provence
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup water
2 tblsp. good cognac or brandy
1-2 tsp. sea salt - flakes if possible
1-2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
squeeze (about 1 tsp.) of fresh lemon juice
In a large saute pan cook the minced shallot, onion and garlic in 2 tblsp. of the butter over med-low heat until soft and clear. Add bay leaves, herbs de Provence and tarragon. Add chicken livers and water, turn heat to medium and cook for at least 3-4 minutes, turning the livers several times. They should slightly pink in the center. Transfer just the livers to a food processor fitted with a steel blade, leaving the onion and herb mixture in the pan.
Remove the bay leaves and discard. Turn the heat to med-high and cook for 1-2 more minutes to evaporate any excess liquid in the pan. Turn off heat. Add the cognac to the livers in the food processor. Add onion and herb mixture and and the remaining butter, pulse several times to combine. Add sea salt and pepper to taste - start with the smaller amount and add to taste. Add fresh lemon juice and pulse several more times until smooth and creamy. Taste one more time and adjust seasonings. Remember that when you serve the pate cold, the flavors will be more muted than when the pate is warm and freshly made. Pour the pate into 4 (1/2 cup) ramekins- sometimes I need 5- depends on the day!
cover tightly with plastic wrap -making sure the plastic wrap is pressed down onto the pate.
Refrigerate at least 6-8 hours before serving and overnight is best.
Serve on crackers or crostini style bread, keeping a small bowl of flaky sea salt handy to sprinkle on top.
This pate will keep approx. two weeks if tightly sealed with plastic wrap and kept cold.