Whenever I buy a whole chicken and think about how I am going to prepare it, I usually get more excited about what I am going to do with the innards. I imagine most people throw them out with the trash, but I love to just fry them up in a quick flour dust and eat them almost right out of the pan. To the chef go the spoils is my philosophy.
You would have to buy quite a few chickens to get enough livers to make a pate though. While it would be money well spent, there is an easier way of course. Just look in the meat department around where the chicken is and most likely up on a high shelf they sell the livers all by themselves, typically 1lb per container and only a couple dollars.
When I first made this dish I was a bit intimidated as it just seems like such a technical French dish requiring some mysterious offal skill. Truth be told, the first time I made it, it came out perfect. It was the second time I made it that things went awry because I didn’t pay enough attention to the detail. I overcooked the livers and tried to healthen it up a bit by using less butter. Fatal error – this dish requires pink livers and lots of butter. Pate was not invented for the health conscious.
1 lb chicken livers, trimmed
1 onion, diced
1 stick of butter
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Sea Salt to taste
4 tsp Brandy
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add livers and saute until browned on outside and still slightly pink inside – about 8 minutes. 1 minute before livers are finished, pour in Brandy and stir.
Pour contents of pan into blender and puree, keeping in mind that hot contents in a blender have a tendency of popping up so take the little cap off your lid and hold it just over the hole until it gets running. While blending, pour in spices and continue blending until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into ramekin and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Optional: If you have duck fat, melt enough in a pan to cover the top of the pate in the ramekin. Alternatively, you can melt butter, separate the fat, and pour the clarified butter over the pate in the ramekin. This seals the pate and can be removed or served with the pate. I find that splitting the pate in half and sealing in two separate ramekins, I get 1 to enjoy now and 1 to enjoy a few days later.
Serve the pate with French baguettes or crackers. A great addition is some variety of fruit jam – the additional sweetness and texture of jam makes the pate really stand out.