Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chicken liver and herb spread

Chicken liver and herb spread
So, this isn't really a pate as it omits the butter to save a few calories, and isn't a chopped liver because it doesn't have the chicken fat and chopped eggs in a typical chopped liver dish- so I'll just call it a chicken liver spread or an "almost" pate - similar flavors and technique, just without butter.  I also added a lot of herbs so it makes it a little less traditional in its flavors, especially with the addition of chives, but I think the chives are really great in this, and taste great sprinkled on top too. But if you want to make it more of a traditional pate, you can omit the chives and sage, and just stick to thyme, and then add two sticks or 1 cup of good quality butter - it will of course add substantial fat and calories :)

Chicken liver crostini - with mayo and pancetta
Serve with a good crusty baguette, some good, toasted bread or make crostini, and, if you like, serve the spread over a little mayo and topped with a little pancetta or bacon as pictured here, inspired by the recipe from Franny's restaurant in Brooklyn published in The New Brooklyn Cookbook that came out this year.  I made my own version of a chicken liver spread, inspired by one my sister made on Christmas Eve where she added some sauteed apples later to add more sweetness, and also taking a cue from the Franny's recipe by adding some anchovies.  I loved the idea of adding a little mayo and topping it with pancetta (or bacon if you don't have pancetta) - and when you take a bite, it really makes you do an audible "mmmmm..." - it is so good!


  • 1 lb. chicken livers, trimmed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 Tbsp. each of chopped: fresh sage, thyme, and chives
  • 1/2 cup port (I used a tawny port) or sherry
  • 1/2 cup Cognac, brandy or Scotch (I used Scotch b/c that is what we had)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Soak your chicken livers in milk for a few hours.  Drain them off and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat a few drizzles of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the livers and cook for a few minutes, about 3 to 4, and flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until they are cooked through but still a little pink in the middle.  Remove the livers and set aside to cool.  Add the port to deglaze the pan and scrape up all the bits in the pan and let the port reduce a little bit.  Pour over the livers.  

It may not be necessary, but if you still have some stuff hanging out in the pan, go ahead and wipe out the pan quick, and add a few drizzles of olive oil back to the pan.  Add your onions with a sprinkle of salt and cook for a few minutes until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the apples and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Then add your garlic, chopped herbs, and anchovies and saute for just about another minute or so until all anchovies have fallen apart and disappeared (or "melted") into the mixture.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.  Add your other 1/2 cup of booze, Cognac, brandy or Scotch, and deglaze the pan.  Pour over the onion mixture.
  
When everything has cooled, put your chicken livers and onion mixture into a food processor and process it to your desired consistency - you can let it run for a little bit to get a smoother texture, or just pulse a few times for a chunkier texture.  Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or a bit more port if you want a little more sweetness.  You can serve as is, or refrigerate for later use.  It works better at room temperature when serving so take it out of the fridge for a bit before serving later.

If you want to turn it into more of a pate, go ahead and add 2 sticks (or 1 cup) of a good quality butter by adding a few tablespoons of softened butter at a time to incorporate it into the mixture.  Process until smooth and taste and adjust for seasoning.  Then transfer to a few ramekins, jars or terrine molds and refrigerate at least overnight before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I love love love pate! Especially one that's easy on the calories...Spread it on a bagel and I'm good to go! :) Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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