This easy chicken liver pâté, as its name implies, couldn’t be simpler to toss together. Just butter, brandy, shallots, and chicken liver goodness.
This easy chicken liver pâté turns simple ingredients into an elegant spread that’s satiny smooth and ridiculously rich. Shallots, thyme, butter, and Cognac combine with chicken livers into a creamy goodness that’s begging to be schmeared on some rustic white bread or toast points as an impressive hors d’oeuvres or a simple winter supper. Best when served with a generous pour of riesling. It also makes a lovely gift when stashed in a small crock, although we won’t judge if you want to save it for yourself. Originally published December 16, 2016.–Angie Zoobkoff
Easy Chicken Liver Pâté
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 30 M
- Makes three 4-ounce crocks or jars
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (25 ml) neutral oil, such as grapeseed (or substitute unsalted butter)
- 12 ounces (350 grams) fresh chicken livers, rinsed (about 15 to 20)
- 1 1/2 ounces (43 grams) shallots, finely chopped (about 2 French shallots or 1 medium shallot)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy, preferably Cognac
- 1 to 2 teaspoons (10 grams) chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 5 ounces (10 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, softened, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Crusty white bread, to serve
- 1 stick (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter (optional)
- 1. In large skillet over medium–high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Fry the chicken livers, turning the livers occasionally and lowering the heat as necessary, until browned on the outside and still pink on the inside, 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the size. It’s perfectly fine to slice into a liver to check for doneness. Be careful not to overcook the livers or your pâté will be grainy.
- 2. Transfer the cooked livers to the bowl of a food processor. Return the skillet to the stove over medium-low heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil along with the shallots. Cook until the shallots have softened, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme to the skillet and then carefully pour the brandy into the skillet. (Use caution and stand back as you slowly and carefully add the brandy to the pan. The alcohol may ignite and flare up but die down.) Continue to cook until the alcohol has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Toss the contents of the skillet into the food processor along with the chicken livers. Add 10 tablespoons softened butter to the food processor, season with a little salt and pepper, and give it all a good whiz until it’s smooth. This could take up to 3 minutes. Taste the pâté and, if desired, add more brandy, thyme, salt, or pepper.
- 3. To give the finished pâté a velvety texture, use a spatula to push the mixture through a very fine sieve or, for a more rustic texture, omit this step. Then transfer the pâté to a ceramic or glass bowl. If you prefer to devour the pâté straight away or within 24 hours, spread it thickly on a piece of crusty bread, such as sliced baguette, or cover and refrigerate it for later. If you want to enjoy the pâté up to 1 week later, slowly melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan until the golden liquid and milk solids separate. Pour the golden clarified butter onto the pâté, leaving the milk solids in the pan. The pâté must be totally covered by the butter so that it’s airtight. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.