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Monday, April 29, 2013

Making Chicken Liver Pate

When there is just two of you for dinner, it is quite customary now for couples to see this as an opportunity for date night.  This is usually defined as crunching two goodselves in a car and squeeze through traffic jams to get to this or that place, by hook or by crook (lest one or the other loves each other less).
Sometimes, that isn't worth the hassle, is it?  While the alternative (slaving away in the kitchen for a 3-course crusade) is quite daunting on a busy schedule from work, I think there is a more elegant or more French (or both) way for this.  It may require a bit of preparation, but it will be worth it.  I'm talking of having pates on hand, some I buy in bottles from the weekend market, others, like a chicken liver pate, I make when I have an afternoon in the kitchen.  Making pates may sound daunting at first, but when I made my first one, I enjoyed every minute of it. 
I got my recipe from Donna Hay magazine, (top of my favorite food magazine list) but I substituted some of the ingredients there.  Instead of red currant jelly, I used our local guava jelly since the former is not readily available here, and instead of port, I used raspberry flavored wine vinegar (the brand I used is Borges, available in Landmark and Rustans) but increased the volume.  For the butter, I used Elle & Vire 75% fat free.  All in all, it still tasted as sinful as your restaurant-churned liver pate.  Make ahead and keep them in ceramic loaf pans to maintain their freshness longer and very appropriate for simple date nights. Serve with Melba toasts and your favorite bottle, then pop a disk of your favorite old movie in your dvd player and cozy up in a couch and exclaim:  C'est la vie!

I am reprinting Donna Hay's chicken liver pate recipe here incorporating my substitutions, but do check out her website.  You'll love the photos and the dishes cooked up there. Meanwhile, here is a picture of my own pate:

chicken liver pâté

  • 1½ teaspoons powdered gelatine
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • ¾ cup (80g) store-bought guava jelly
  • 40g butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 small brown onions, chopped
  • ²⁄³ cup sage leaves, chopped
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 600g chicken livers, trimmed
  •  3/4 cup (150ml) raspberry-flavored wine vinegar
  • 350g cold butter, extra, chopped
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  •  melba toast, to serve

Sprinkle the gelatine over the water and set aside for 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Place the guava jelly in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine mixture and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Pour the mixture into a 22cm x 8cm lightly greased loaf tin and refrigerate for 1–2 hours or until set (see recipe notes, below right).Place the butter, garlic, onion, sage and bay leaves in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Add the livers and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine vinegar and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove bay leaves and discard. Place the liver mixture, extra cold butter, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine sieve and spoon over the redcurrant jelly. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Gently turn out and serve with melba toasts.  Serves 6 to 8.

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