Hoisting stamina during days short of light: Chicken liver pâté
Offal has its lovers and haters and chicken liver pâté is one concoction that will often get a good wince. Chicken livers are a delicate and inexpensive morsel, generous from many standpoints. High in protein, folate and iron, they provide a good portion of the B vitamins, mostly B12, and vitamin A. Good for: Energy, fertility, blood, eyes. Their texture and taste are smooth and they are easy and quick to cook and pair with caramelised onions, tomato sauces thyme and sage.
In contrast to other pâté recipes, chicken liver pâté is straightforward and does not require much thought. Eat it with bread, with apple slices, with cheese, in crepes with a white wine sauce, or crumble it over a green salad with sage leaves and tomatoes. Perfect to have in the fridge for when you don’t want to cook but still get that warm feeling that comes from the belly after a day out in the cold.
Chicken liver pâté
150-200 gm shallots, peeled and diced
500 gm of chicken livers (trimmed of fat and connective tissue -the white bits-)
2 Tbsp of butter for cooking, plus 4 for coating ready pâté
2 sprigs of fresh Thyme or 4 fresh sage leaves
2 Tbsp of Brandy
salt and pepper to taste
optional tip: you can soak the livers in milk for 10-15 minutes before cooking to make their taste milder. I do not, as I find that they are delicious as is.
Warm up a heavy bottomed pan and add (2 Tbsp) butter to melt. Add the chopped shallots, season with salt and pepper and cook at medium heat until they have hints of brown and are translucent, a nice caramelise that will impart flavour to the pâté. Add the whole chicken livers and toss them around cooking until they look light brown on the outside and light pink on the inside (not raw, but pink). It takes about 3 minutes more or less. You can check this by cutting one open in the pan with a spoon whilst cooking. Add the brandy, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid until you have a thick smooth sauce just coating the livers and shallots. Remove from the heat and blend with a processor, blender or with a hand blender, they all do the job. Melt the additional 4 Tbsp of butter together with the thyme sprigs or the sage leaves, or both. This will infuse the herb flavour into the pâté coating. In the mean time, transfer the pâté into ramekins or a rectangular ceramic dish and smooth out the top. Pour the melted butter with the herbs over the pâté to coat it and let it cool. The butter will seal in the pâté keeping it fresh and prevent it from discolouring, and it tastes delicious. Store the pâté covered in the fridge. The unbroken butter seal will keep the pâté fresh for about three weeks. Once you cut into it, try to finish it off in a week or so.