Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nasty bits


This is an unpleasant photo. But then, pâté is an unpleasant dish, at least to make.
As far as sensory experiences in the kitchen go, making chicken liver pâté ranks well below baking fresh bread and only just above dumping a long expired carton of curdled milk down the sink on a swelteringly hot day. From the slippery, slimy feel of the bloody things in your hand as you trim the sinewy bits away, to the acrid smell that clings to your hands and anything else that they come into contact with, the experience is not for the faint of stomach.

But I expect if you are the kind of person who enjoys eating pâté, you're probably equipped with a fairly stern constitution anyway, especially when the reward is so rich and silky. And if your guests aren't the chicken liver type, the more for you. The twist with this recipe is the use of bourbon instead of the traditional brandy or congac.

Bourbon Chicken Pâté makes 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 pound chicken livers, well-trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Soak the chicken livers in salted water or milk for 3 or four hours.
  2. Sauté the shallots in 1 tablespoon butter until soft. Add the chicken livers, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until the livers are just no longer pink inside, approximately five minutes (do not overcook).
  3. Transfer to a container, add the remaining butter and blend using a hand mixer (alternately, you can use a food processor if you're all fancy) until smooth.
  4. Add the bourbon and blend for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Serve over baguettes with mustard, cornichons and onion marmalade.

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