Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chicken Liver Pate

This month's Charcutepalooza challenge is packing - and that means pate.

I love pate of all kinds, so does David, but as we get further into the challenges, I struggle more and more with what I can make - dishes that work with the rules of Charcutepalooza and ones that my kids will eat. It never pays for me to make anything that only half the family will eat, which is why I never make headcheese, or stuffed trotters. We were great through sausages, and bacon, and we flew through brining, and somehow I managed to inspire them to eat a shrimp terrine last month, but loaves of compressed meat were going to be a hard sell even on a good day.

Could I make a pate that the whole family will eat?

I knew that doing something rustic would never work - too many weird obtrusive pieces sticking out here and there, and forget inlaying a little meat surprise in the middle of the pate. That's the kind of weird science that would have me banned from the kitchen.

I decided on a pate that was smooth, spreadable, could be served without turning it out of the pot into a loaf. It could be sold to the children as a fun spread, the way almond butter is a fun spread. I went with my favorite pate of all time - chicken liver. It might take a few go-arounds, but I figured I could sell this.

Chicken liver pate is not just simple, it is also inexpensive, even if you are buying the best livers, from the best chickens, at the happiest farms, and it barely requires a recipe. In fact, I'm not going to give you one.

I'm going to just tell you to buy chicken livers - you won't need many of them, a little over a half pound of livers makes three small pots full - take them home to your kitchen, gently saute them in copious amounts of butter, onions, garlic, add salt and pepper, and handfuls of fragrant herbs, whatever beautiful herbs you've picked up at the market, let it all cook together about 5-6 minutes until the livers are not red, but a lovely pink inside, and add your favorite booze. I added tequila, but you can go right ahead and improvise, bourbon, cognac, it's all good. Heavy-handedness is mandatory here.

Put the boozed up livers in a food processor, give them a whirl or two, or ten, until you have a nice thick consistency, no solids, just something like a thick, thick shake. Check for seasoning and add some salt if you think it needs it. Pour the mixture into pots. Cover the top with a few sprigs of herbs and pour a little clarified butter over the top. Put pots in the fridge for a few hours until they set.

Serve a cold pot with toasted rounds of baguette, quartered figs, a hunk of good manchego, some slices of duck sausage, cornichons and if my kids are around, a few slices of star fruit and raspberries.

As of tonight, I am working at 50%. Lucy loved pate, slathered on toasts with side helpings of cheese and fruit. Edie just ate the toasts. But I take my victories as I get them. I'll be making this again, and I'll take another crack at her. Someday, even if it kills me, she'll love it, just as I do.



Here are our best-of picks for the binding challenge:

1. Chow Eng Down
Tempura Head cheese

2. The Messy Epicure
Saffron and Seafood Terrine

3. Artful Wish
Chicken Liver Terrines with Shallots

4. Dabblings & Whimsey
Chicken Liver Terrine with Chipotle and Raisins

5. One Vanilla Bean
Chicken Liver Terrine & Home-made Ritz Crackers

6. Eat Live Travel Write
Insane head cheese

7. Inspired By Wolfe
Xiao long bao

8. Sensible Worlds
The Big Two-Headed Hog Dish

9. Good For The Palate
Toe Cheese (Trotters)

10. In Scott's Kitchen
Scallop & Crab Mousseline Ravioli in Leek Brown Butter

Best Pics:

1. Taste Food Blog
Kale Wrapped Salmon and Scallop Mousseline with Tomato Coulis

2. Bona Fide Farm
Parsleyed Ham in Aspic

3. A Cook Blog
French dip bánh mì

4. Hounds in the Kitchen
Almost All-Ohio Trout and Shrimp Mousseline

5. Naomaly
Tip to Toe Terrine



Mardi Michels said...

Thank you for including me in the roundup! I love that you had your kids taste you pâté - luckily you didn't ask them to try headcheese LOL!

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I've always loved chicken livers; typically fried but I think I need to try this. I make a pate that is all mushroom...sauteed with rosemary and seasonings and I'm thinking I want to do a chicken mushroom pate. I wish I had it now.

I love that your kids are fed what the family eats. I never catered to my kids. I mean...sure they had PB&J for lunch when I might have a salad, but for dinner. I made it, it was put on the table and if they didn't like it or wouldn't even try it, I didn't make them something separate. All I asked of them was one bite.

Love that the girl who grimaced over salmon loves it today!

Two Minute Takes said...

As inviting as your pâté looks, I'm afraid I'm with little Edie on this one. My Mom however would have loved it and eaten it for breakfast. She of course was known eat lobster and scallops for breakfast too.

Scott said...

Thanks for the listing! I so love patè. Had a friend who was picky and wouldn't try it at a party until I turned my back. Then he exclaimed "This is good. It tastes like liverwurst. I love liverwurst."

tori said...

As a kid pate was one of my favourite things. Though I think if my mum had made your gorgeous specimen, rather than something that looked suspiciously like meat paste from a plastic tube in the supermarket, I'd have been in real trouble. I'd have become a food snob way too early on.

Jessie said...

I have been dying to try this, and finally made it on Saturday evening for friends. Thanks for the recipe, it turned out great and I realize how flexible it is and easy to customize to one's own preferences. Thanks!!!

Kim Foster said...

Jessie -

I have to say, this has become my go-to pate (which is almost more like a mousse or a parfait). Easy, always good and you're right, completely customize-able. Thanks for writing back and letting me know!


CorieAitken said...

I don't really like chicken liver spread. But this post makes me think to try it. I was so curious and interested what it taste like.

kate said...

This looks realy tasty and tempting. Can't wait to try this soon.

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