I used to think my parents were crazy, but what teenager doesn’t? One reason I thought this was because, as a regular practice on Sunday nights Mom and Dad would fix up a batch of chicken livers, hearts and gizzards for dinner. It was the only time we were allowed to eat in front of the TV, because thats when Lawrence Welk was on.
Though I did not partake, the smell of the bacon wrapped inner parts was pretty good. I just could not bring myself to eat it. Why in the world did they like that stuff? Gross!
How things change.
On my menu is chicken liver pate. As most things I serve, its a rather simple preparation with a highly rewarding outcome. Dean from Plum Creek Farm brings me a bag of livers every other week, and if I wanted them any fresher, I’d have to kill the birds myself.
I start by sweating shallot and garlic in clarified butter, smoked clarified butter to be precise. Any time I fire up the smoker, I utilize every space possible. I fill a foil pan with five pounds of butter and let it absorb the smoke for about an hour. By this time it has melted and separated, and is ready to clarify. What’s left is the richest, smoky, decadent ingredient I have in my kitchen. I cap my rillettes with it. I saute tomatoes for a Smoked Tomato Gnocchi, and I put it in my chicken liver pate. This is my dirty little secret.
The next step is to simmer the livers in the shallot/garlic mix, add a little white wine, a little chicken stock, some fresh rosemary, thyme and cracked black pepper and let all those flavors absorb into the liver. This takes around 20-25 min. Thats it. Some recipes soften the liver with cream cheese, but I like the stronger flavor the livers give without it.
Thanks to Ruhlman, I discover that its important to let the livers cool before pureeing, as it leads to better texture and emulsion. A quick pulse in the food processor, pouring in a drizzle of smoked butter.
To serve, we put three quenelles of pate on toast with freeze dried corn (I get from my friends at Savory Spice Shop in Denver) and maple syrup. The corn gives some crunch and the maple cooperates with the richness of the liver.