Chicken Liver Pâté with Sage, Apple and Thyme

Over the weekend, I made this pâté using chicken livers. I was really the other ingredients that I found appealing. We happen to have a monstrously large sage plant in the back garden. Also, the apple gives it a hint of sweetness. I know most sane people would never dream of making pâté, but it’s easy once you get over the whole liver thing!

Chicken Liver Pâté with Sage, Apple and Thyme

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 lb chicken livers
6 Tbs butter at room temperature, divided
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup shallots, chopped (about 4 small shallots)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tbs sage, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup apple brandy or bourbon
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 Tbs – 1/4 cup clarified butter, melted (optional)
Thyme and sage sprigs (optional)
Sliced baguette, crackers or mini toasts, for serving

Trim the livers of any excess fat and tough connective tissue. Set aside in the refrigerator.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are just beginning to brown. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are soft and browning at the edges. Add the livers, apple, sage and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are just barely pink inside when cut and the apple pieces are soft.

Transfer the liver mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Pour the brandy into the skillet and bring to a boil over low heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil for about 1 minute to reduce slightly, then pour over the liver mixture. Add the salt. Process until mixture is very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix thoroughly with the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Add pepper to taste. Pack into small jars or ramekins and smooth tops with a spatula or knife. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap against the surface of pâté. For longer storage, pour enough clarified butter to cover the top of each ramekin and add a decorative herb sprig. Chill until butter is firm and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. For best flavor, refrigerate at least overnight before serving.

Let soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving with crackers or baguette slices. Pâté will keep refrigerated for up to one week, or up to two weeks with the clarified butter seal.

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