chicken liver pâté
All right, I’ll get quickly to the point here. If you are celebrating Christmas, you are probably either traveling to your celebration destination or cooking a meal and preparing for the festive holiday. This is for those of you in the kitchen who might be looking for a quick appetizer that makes you look like a three star French chef, while your guests ooh and aah, and you feign hard work and great kitchen skills – this is for you. You can thank me later, but first go and see for yourself how easy and awesome this is.
I will warn you now that this requires three (that’s 3!) sticks of butter which is probably why it tastes so amazing and luxurious. When I served this at book club, the ladies dove right in – a sign of great success. You can make this tonight and serve this during the cocktail hour tomorrow. When you pour the warm pâté into the dish where you will serve it, don’t worry that it might seem too liquid – it will set, I promise. If you are having a bunch of people over, it might work to chill the pâté in several small dishes that you can set around your apartment or house.
Or, if you are running short on small gifts to hand out, these make perfect homemade gifts. Pour the pâté into a small jar, affix a double layer of wax paper with a piece of twine or ribbon and attach a gift tag. And in an instant you have a thoughtful and luxurious gift! An appetizer that doubles as a gift too? Now that’s holiday cooking worth spending a few minutes on!
Wishing everyone celebrating Christmas a wonderful and festive holiday!
Chicken Liver Pâté
Adapted from Jacques Pepin
1 pound chicken livers
2/3 cup thinly sliced onions
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed (1/2 teaspoon)
2 bay leaves, crushed
1/4-teaspoon thyme leaves
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Cognac or Scotch whisky
A piece of tomato skin and green of scallion for decoration (optional)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin for aspic (optional)
Place the livers, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, water, and 1-teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook at a bare simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
Take out the solids with a slotted spoon and place them in the bowl of a food processor with metal blade. (Reserve and strain the liquid to make the aspic.) Start processing the liver, adding the butter piece by piece. Finally, add the second teaspoon salt, the pepper, and Cognac or whisky and process for 2 more minutes so that the mixture is very creamy and completely smooth. If the mixture looks broken down, with visible fat, let it cool in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to harden the butter, then process again until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
Pour into a mold. Decorate or refrigerate to set and serve as is.