If you don’t like gore or anything with a remotely slithery texture, this is not the recipe for you. Not as the cook, anyway. Look away now.
My husband just walked past the chopping block making gagging noises. There’s nothing attractive about raw chicken livers – not until they’re cooked in something like this paté – then they can be a knockout.
One of my favourite food bloggers, Conor Bofin at One Man’s Food, recently wrote a very funny post about his doctor dad smuggling home-cooked food to his hospital bedside.
Conor and his mum made a great-looking chicken liver paté in honour of his late father. His pictures are even more gruesome than mine, by the way, as befits the son of a pathologist. I was sorely tempted to cook his recipe.
But I’d already gathered the ingredients for this one – and a very fine paté it is, too. It’s smooth-textured, delicate and mousse-like, less “livery” than some stronger-flavoured patés. If you’d like something chunkier and a bit more robust, have a look at Conor’s.
Chicken Liver Pate
1lb (450g) chicken livers
1 medium onion
1 fat clove of garlic
3 oz (75g) butter
4 tblspns of chicken stock (a stock cube is fine)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pint (150ml) double cream
2 medium eggs
1 level tblspn of cornflour
4 tblspns of dry sherry
Heat your oven to 325F/160C/Gas 3
Trim the chicken livers and remove any stringy bits. This is a revolting process, as you can see from the picture at the top of the page. Just grit your teeth.
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic – keep the garlic separate.
Melt 2 oz (50g) of the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and fry the onion gently for five minutes until it’s soft but not brown.
Add the chopped garlic and the chicken livers and season well with salt and pepper.
Cook gently with the lid on for 10 minutes or so until the livers are lightly cooked. They will look like something you’d feed to the cat but persevere.
Spoon the mixture and all its juices into a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth purée. You’ll have a pinkish-brown gloop which looks deeply unattractive.
Pour it into a mixing bowl and stir in the eggs and cream. By now you’ll be thinking the mixture is far too runny ever to set. Stay with me.
Blend the cornflour with the dry sherry, add to the bowl and mix well.
Butter a 2 pint (1.1 litre) greased baking dish or loaf tin (mine’s a bit too big), pour in your mixture and cover with a lid or kitchen foil.
Place in a roasting tin and fill the tin with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.
Cook in the pre-heated oven for 1-1 1/2 hours until the centre feels firm when you press it. It will have turned miraculously from liver soup into liver paté, phew.
Let it cool then melt the remaining butter in a saucepan and pour it over the top to cover and seal. Chill overnight but take it out of the fridge half an hour before you want to eat it.
It’s good served, as Conor suggests in his post, with melba toast.
To make it, toast slices of bread in the usual way then slice them vertically through the middle and pop the untoasted side under the grill – watch it like a hawk, it burns easily – until it’s light brown and curling gently. Or just butter some ordinary toast and tuck in.