The pâté making process is actually, surprisingly easy (and delicious). First, you will need to prepare your chicken livers. *These are usually placed above the chickens for sale at your local grocer and you can always ask the butcher if you don't see them - they should be in a plastic tub. To prepare - simply cut each one into two lobes (they are already in this format, so it's not a confusing process) and remove any white tissue you see with the tip of your knife. At this point, you can quickly run the livers under running water and set them aside to dry.
Next, heat a skillet on medium (a commercial kitchen uses hotter stoves, so you might need to use a medium-high heat) and place three slices of bacon in the pan. Let sit for 3 minutes, flip, repeat, and remove from heat to cool completely before mincing. ***Remove skillet from heat but do not clean or dump out the bacon fat (this is liquid gold)***
Now, you can bring over the chicken livers that have been drying, along with your butter, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and allspice (you will need all of these in fairly quick order). Grab the skillet with bacon fat and put back on medium-high heat. Once the bacon fat has warmed back up,add your butter and onion. Let this sauté until soft and translucent (it will be slightly brown in places due to the bacon fat) - about 3 minutes - then add your garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or so (don't brown the garlic). You can now turn the heat up (high) add your chicken livers - let sit for a minute - and then add the salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and allspice. Continue to cook for 2 -3 minutes before adding the sherry and then cook for 3 more. The livers should look like they do in the picture above (this is right before we flambé them).
Time to FLAMBÉ!
As you see in the above photo, the cognac is poised over the pan. To flambé - turn the flames (you need a gas stove with an open flame) on high, pour the cognac into the back of the pan, tip the pan into the flame, and it will quickly catch on fire.
Once on fire, vigorously (don't lose the chicken livers) slide the pan back and forth, so the flame gets to all of the chicken livers before it goes out (it will extinguish fairly quickly and don't worry if the fist attempt isn't terribly successful - add another tbslp of cognac and try again!)
Once the flames extinguish, lower the heat to medium-low, stir the chicken livers, cook for another minute or so, remove from heat, and set aside to cool completely (this is a great time to turn your attention to the Moules Frites you might also be cooking).
Once the livers have cooled completely, put them in your food processor, along with the minced bacon (make sure to leave off the ends if they've curled up and not cooked completely as they will not blend smoothly), and the crème fraîche. Puree to a smooth, thick paste, season with salt and pepper to taste (It really doesn't need any of either), chill and serve with toast, crackers, bread, or any carb your heart desires.
|The finished product with melba toast and |
a scrumptious brioche from Maison Kayser
- 12 ounces chicken liver
- 3 strips bacon
- 2 tblsp unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, minced (about 1/3 c)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp all spice powder
- 2 tsp dry, pale sherry
- 1 tblsp Cognac
- 1/3 c crème fraîche
Adapted from Melanie Cecilio's recipes from Cooking Basics: Paris Bistro at ICE