This is another of those dishes I probably never would have made had I still been living in England. It is so easy to pick up good pâté in the UK but I find it almost impossible to find pâté here in California. For me, it is such a nostalgic comfort food. The first bite always takes me back to the time around Christmas when my Mum would fill the fridge with all sorts of goodies and we would nibble our way through them in the lazy lunches and suppers around Christmas. Usually on top of a Jacobs Cornish Cream Cracker while watching Only Fools and Horses.
I’ve had my fair share of pâté spread onto a crusty baguette in France too. Gorgeous in a different kind of way.
This recipe is so easy but so good. My only problem with it has been that I end up making so much at a time that I become a pâté pusher to anyone who comes to the house. Luckily my fellow Brit ex-pats are equally pâté starved so are usually thrilled to go home with a pot of this. My kids surprised me by loving it too. It has been great to have in the fridge for their sandwiches and I also stirred some through hot pasta with peas for a quick dinner for them last night.
Rachel’s recipe called for rabbit livers which are nigh on impossible to get round these parts so I substituted organic chicken livers. I also used Marsala instead of Cognac as that is what I had in the house. I usually double up her recipe.
This is a great party dish, serve it with crackers or toasted bread and cornichons. It is a delight to have a pot of this in the fridge ready for lunch and it will happily keep in the fridge for a week. You can even freeze it according to Rachel but I’ve never tried that.
Ingredients (to make enough to fill a couple of jam jars)
100g (3.5oz) salted butter
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and flattened
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
225g (8oz) chicken livers, please get organic as the liver is what processes all that the chicken eats
1 tablespoon Marsala or Cognac
1 small anchovy fillet
Half a teaspoon each of freshly ground pepper and salt
1. Melt a knob of the butter in a frying pan and gently cook the garlic, bay and thyme until the garlic is soft but not brown. Around 4 minutes.
2. Add the livers and Cognac and cook on a medium high heat for around 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the livers to be brown on the outside but still pink in the middle. Don’t be scared of the pink middle. The trick is not to overcook them so aim for the middle 20% to be pink when you cut a liver in half. Remove the bay leaves and thyme.
3. Put the butter, anchovy, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and whiz together before adding the chicken livers and juices. Puree until smooth and check for seasoning.
4. Divide either into individual ramekins or into a narrow necked jar. The narrow neck is to reduce the amount on surface area and therefore reduce the amount of air that will get to the surface of the pâté. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight before serving.