Classic French Chicken Liver Pate…the perfect gift for the Thanksgiving Guest

What to bring? Certainly not another green bean casserole or jello mold…been there, done that. Give this to your hosts and they’ll be talking about it for months to come.

Chicken Liver Pate
Makes 3 pounds

1/2 large onion, peeled, chopped fine
1 pound unsalted butter at room temp, cut into 1T cubes
4T canola oil
1T garlic, minced find
3 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, small dice
3 pounds chicken livers, cleaned, rinsed well
1/2C Cognac
1C chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Line your mold (either classic pate mold with removable sides or something suitable as a gift) with plastic wrap, making sure to leave enough to cover the mold completely. Be sure to smooth out all of the wrinkles to ensure a smooth surface.

The chicken livers must be thoroughly cleaned. Rinse under cold water then remove every bit of fiber, tissue and fat that you can find. Put the livers in a bowl under a stream of cool running water. Every few minutes, drain the water and repeat. Continue until the water runs clear. Let drain completely in a colander.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet until it’s ripping hot. Add the oil, swirl to coat the pan. Add livers and cook until you get a uniform color with no signs of red. This will take a few minutes, don’t rush it. The livers will give off a lot of liquid – remove much of this with a kitchen spoon. Add the onions and garlic, stir well, then add the apples. Stir to combine. Add cognac, ignite. When flames subside, add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan, then season with s&p. Continue until almost, but not quite all, the liquid is gone.

Spoon out about 1/3 of the mix, set aside. Put the rest into a food processor. Turn it on then begin to add knobs of butter to the mix…you want to be efficient here, adding more butter when you can’t see the last one any more – what the French call “mounting:. Adjust your seasonings as necessary. When done, stir in the remaining pate mix, then turn out the puree into your mold/container. Cover completely with your plastic wrap and chill. It’s best to do this at least one day in advance.

To serve, pull back the plastic wrap and carefully turn onto a serving plate. The traditional garnish would include hard-boiled eggs, separated, the whites and then the yolks grated and placed around the pate. This is accented with cornichon…French for wicked little pickles.

Note: if you have a lot of wrinkles in your pate, try this: using a butter knife, dip it in very hot water then run it over the surface. Repeat until the surface is smooth.

Serve with the fancy crackers or toasted bread rounds of your choice. This is a special dish and your presentation should reflect that.

Leftovers can be wrapped and chilled.  And if you’re a freak about “day after” sandwiches, don’t forget to add a slice of this to the mix.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Recipe, courtesy Chef Glen Thomas, Seasons Restaurant, Simsbury, CT

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All Rights Reserved, 2015

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