Well today would have been my mother Marie’s 72 birthday. It’s always a tough day for me and my family but I thought what better way to honour Mum, than share one of her recipes that she was renowned for, Chicken Liver Pate. It wouldn’t have been Christmas in our house if Mum hadn’t made vast quantities of chicken liver pate. Many of my parent’s friends waited with baited breath for their annual festive gift. It was SO good, and for a long time we all thought that the recipe was lost forever until just before Christmas of last year, I was flicking through an old recipe book of my Mum’s and I came across a torn, yellowed piece of paper with the ingredients for Mum’s recipe. I say ingredients because the method for assembling the pate was missing, but through trial and error I figured this out. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to find this and although I’m not sure if it is as good as Mum’s, I’m happy that it’s a good runner up!
Chicken Liver Pate
- 454g/1lb chicken livers
- 110g/4oz streaky rashers/lardons
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 110g/4oz butter
- 6 prunes
- 2 tbsp brandy (I usually add a splash more if I feel the pate is too thick)
- A few sprigs of thyme or bay leaves
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 50ml/2fl oz double cream
Brush a frying pan with a little oil (olive or sunflower) and fry the rashers or lardons until cooked. Transfer these to a food processor and blend until fine almost crumbly.
Then trim the chicken livers, removing any membrane or green tinged bits. Rinse the livers and dry completely. Heat about half the butter in the frying pan and when it foams, add the livers and cook over a gentle heat. Be careful not to overcook them or the outside will get crusty. That said all traces of pink should be gone. However, some people do like to leave some pinkness to the livers, apparently there are not the same health risks with chicken livers as with the flesh of chicken. I usually ensure there are no traces of pink, but that’s just my preference.
Remove the livers from the pan and put aside, reduce the heat, add the onions and fry gently until the onions are soft, do not allow to brown. Then add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Now put the chicken livers, onions, garlic and prunes into a food processor, with the pre blended rashers/lardons. Deglaze (Deglazing is a fancy and intimidating word that means to pour some cold liquid into a very hot pan to get up all the brown bits stuck to the bottom off the pan) the pan with brandy and add this to the food processor, season with salt and pepper and finally add the cream. Blend until smooth. Check the seasoning and add more salt or pepper if required. Transfer the pate to clean ramekin dishes.
Melt the remaining butter (I always seem to need to melt more!) and the thyme/bay leaf in a small pot. Remove the thyme and place it on top of the pate. Pour the butter over the pate, once cooled place in the fridge to set for about an hour.
I usually serve pate with homemade crostinis, which are really easy to make.
Pre heat oven to 180c/350f/gas 4
Using a French stick cut into thin slices, brush with a little olive oil on both sides. Place on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven until crisp. Allow to cool on a wire rack, and then serve with the pate. Delicious!