Published on April 2nd, 2013 | by Gareth2
Chicken liver & cognac pâté – 70s cuisine comes back?
Pâté has somewhat fallen out of favour of late; popular during the 70s and 80s I feel it’s time it joined the ranks of prawn cocktail, summer pudding and black forest gateau to make a comeback on the menu.
In truth, I have never really thought of pâté as the entrée or lunchtime dish of the 70s; that’s the territory of fondue, ABBA and key parties. I have always associated it with classic French charcuterie, family holidays in France and picnics.
Pâté originate with the ancient Greeks (surprise surprise), it became popular in medieval Europe as a means or preserving meat and making sure nothing was wasted. It’s the original potted meat.
Trendy or not, I love the rustic ease of pâté and how it transforms a simple piece of bread into something extra special. Believe it or not, it’s also incredibly simple (and pretty cheap) to make. Plus it’ll impress the pants of guests – not necessarily literally, as that could be embarrassing. Anyway you can either bake a pâté (similar to how meatloaf is prepared), or fry then blend it. For my chicken liver pate, I have used the later method, as it’s faster and personally I find it makes a smoother, creamy finished product.
Preparation time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes enough for 3 medium ramekins
- 400g fresh chicken livers – trimmed, deveined and cut into halves
- 100g unsalted butter
- 80ml cognac – brandy is fine
- 2 juniper berries
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- 4 shallots – finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic – finely chopped (I also used some smoked garlic)
- Seasoning to taste
- Trim the livers of any bits of fat or veins. Rinse in clean cold water and pat dry with Kitchen paper. Transfer to a bowl and soak in the cognac for 2 hours.
- Heat half of the butter and fry the shallots over a low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken livers setting aside the brandy. Sauté the livers for at least 5 minutes over a moderate heat. The risk of not doing this is that you will get contaminated with campylobacter, which trust me is not nice. To avoid this you need to ensure the livers reach a temperature of 70+degrees C. If the core of the liver is still bloody it’s not cooked. This a really important point to cover.
- Add the brandy, thyme and juniper. Cook for a further minute.
- Once cooked transfer to a blender with the remaining butter; blend for 5 minutes.
- Strain the warm pate through a sieve into a suitable container, ramekins or earthenware are perfect for the job.
- Cover with Gladwrap/Clingfilm and chill in the fridge until set (about 20 mins).
- If you’re not eating the pate the same day its best to seal by pouring melted clarified butter over the top.
- Serve on crusty bread or hot toast.
What are you favourite rustic dishes?