Pate is one of the French ultimate comfort foods. Feeling down and out? Spread some fatty, gritty liver paste onto a baguette. That’ll cheer you up. Oh wait, don’t forget the wine to accompany it. There, there now; it’s all better.
Pate is often made of either just liver, liver and meat, meat and fat, liver and fat, oh boy the combinations. Basically, if you mix anything and make it into a loaf, it’s pate. Some throw in pistachios or olives into their pate to give it some texture. I like a country pate as much as the next guy (well, let’s be honest; not everybody likes pate), but I wanted to make a simple, yet delicious liver pate. As for those who don’t like pate, you’re missing out.
Every time I roast a chicken, I save the livers when I remove the giblets, and for good reason. Chicken livers are perfect for making pate. I could up the ante with duck livers, but those are hard to find around here. However, when I made my Roasted Duck, I saved that one. So one duck liver to accompany 10 chickens. A sad lonely liver indeed. But that’s okay because I also saved 5 oz of duck fat from the same roast. Rejoice for rendered duck fat!
Or not, whatever. I guess I get excited for duck fat.
With just a few herbs and spices, this pate is flavorful, but not overpowering. Most traditionally use cognac, but I used bourbon. I’ll save the cognac for another day.
These freeze excellently, so I portioned out 4 chunks and put three in the freezer. If you have a pate crock, use it. I did not, so I shaped mine in a 3 x 7 loaf pan. This way it’s a nice rectangular shape to divide it later.
It’s important to note that this isn’t a firm pate that you can slice. It has no meat or solid fat (like chicken or pork) so it’s a paste-like consistency. However it does hold it’s shape (sort of like room temperature butter).
Top it with pancetta? Oooh now you’re talking baby 😉
Chicken Liver Pate
3/4 cup rendered duck fat (or butter)
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t minced fresh thyme or 1/4 t dried
1 t minced fresh marjoram or 1/4 t dried
1 t minced fresh sage or 1/4 t dried
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/8 t ground allspice
1 lb chicken livers, trimmed of extra fat globs
2 T bourbon
Heat fat over low heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Add herbs, salt, pepper, allspice, and livers. Cook until livers are browned but still barely pink inside, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in bourbon and remove from heat. Let cool for about a minute and puree in a blender until smooth.
Pour into a wax-paper or plastic wrap lined loaf pan. Cover with wrap or paper and weigh down with another loaf pan filled with something heavy enough to apply some pressure (I used 1 lb of cheese). Chill at least 2 hours.
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