OK. So it’s a cooking weekend. I could add the beef stew (a sort of boeuf bourguignon, but only because I added red wine) but I think I’ll leave it for another day.
Today my nephew made pizza for lunch, and very tasty it was too. I made a salad or two to accompany it, and to be honest hardly any salad got eaten, but that’s the way of salad when there’s pizza about. Even pear, blue cheese and toasted walnut salad with a honey dressing. Ah well.
But after lunch I made chicken liver pate. It’s so easy. Why don’t I make this all the time?
I looked up a number of recipes, and then went my own way, incorporating what I’d learnt, but not being a slave to the recipe.
The starting point was that I had 270g of chicken livers. I popped them in a small bowl (actually a souffle dish) and covered them in milk, and then abandoned them in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Then I finely chopped a shallot and gently gently cooked it in its own body weight of butter. Once it was deliciously soft, I added a chopped clove of garlic. You could of course have squidged the garlic through a garlic press, but I think life is too short for cleaning garlic presses. Anyway, the last one I had I squidged the garlic into a dish and ended up having to fish out lots of wee bits of metal from the supper. The holey bit of the press had sheered out with the pressure of the garlic. Not nice.
OK, soften the garlic in the buttery goodness for a wee while. Add thyme or sage or bay if you have any. Or marjoram. Marjoram was all I could find, so that is what we’ve got. Thyme would have been much much nicer.
Way before you added the garlic, while you were listening to the gentle cooking of the shallot, you should take the chicken livers out of the milk and popped them on some kitchen paper on a plate. Soak up the milk a bit and then pick over the livers and remove any green bits, or any stringy fatty bits (you know those bits that join two lovely livery bits together). Don’t be over fastidious about the stringy bits – but be as pernickety as you like about the green bits. Eeek.
Once the garlic has been doing its thing with the butter and shallots for a while, add the chicken livers in. Turn up the heat a bit, but not too much – you don’t want anything to burn, just to cook.
The livers will only need 4-5 minutes to cook – they should be soft brown on the outside, but still pink on the inside.
Now, plop it all into a liquidiser. And liquidise.
Once it is all combined, add more butter. I’d left the butter out on the side all morning so it was deliciously soft, but it will melt quickly anyway in the hot pate. For 270g of livers, you should add about 140g of butter in total (including what you used to cook the shallots and garlic). I didn’t weigh anything, but I think I added about that much, judging by how much wasn’t left in the packet!
Now, put the pate into a dish.
Melt enough butter to pour over the top of the pate to make a seal. Once the butter is melted, spoon it over the top of the pate. Only use the oily butter which is on top, and throw the liquid white whey away.
A true professional would have added a herb to the melted butter and let it steep for a while to add extra flavour to the finished pate. I didn’t bother. And I’ll bet it’s delicious anyway. You can also add madeira or brandy as you cook the chicken livers, but I don’t think it needs it. Unless of course you are looking for ways to use up those bottle ends of brandy or madeira.
Enjoy with sourdough bread or toasted white, if you’re eating carbs. If not, have it with a big salad of spinach with sweet cherry tomatoes. Even an onion relish/marmalade.
Now, I’ve discovered there are lots of apples in the garden, needing to be made into something. I think it’s time for apple chutney.