What I give you here is the not version: A simple, smooth and rich pâté that spreads like soft butter onto a cracker or crostini. A basic recipe with which to let your imagination take wing; master this and there will be no stopping you.
Christine's Simple Chicken Liver Pâté with Crème Fraîche
1 pound free-range chicken livers (I used Rocky brand)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Italian herbs (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
generous grindings of black peppercorns - about 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 heaping tablespoons crème fraîche (See Cook's Notes)
If using the herbs, put them in a mortar and pestle with the salt and grind them a bit.
Gently wash the livers under cool water. Pat them dry then cut out all connective tissue and sinew.
Heat the unsalted butter over medium-high in a heavy skillet.
When the butter has melted, add the chicken livers and cook, turning once or twice, until nicely browned but still slightly pink in the center. Stir in the herb salt, black pepper and white wine and stir, breaking up the livers, until the wine has almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn the heat to medium-low and stir in the crème fraîche, stirring until it has liquified and then thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Remove mixture from the heat, adjust to taste with salt and pepper, let cool for about 15 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend the livers until they are very smooth. You can achieve even more smoothness by pressing the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Spoon the mixture into a small bowl or mold, pressing down and smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon, cover with plastic wrap, seal tightly and refrigerate until cold.
To serve: If you put the pâté into a decorative ceramic mold to chill, unmold onto a plate to serve with your favorite crackers. Or you can scoop only the amount you need into a small dish and keep the remainder cold.
~ If you are bereft of an immersion blender (also called a stick blender), you can use a food processor or a regular blender. You can even use a fork and the muscles in your arm, but it takes longer.
~ Your pâté mixture will be the consistency of thick gravy before chilling. Don't despair, it will thicken and compress while it chills.
~ I always have a jar of homemade crème fraîche in the fridge; it's easy to make and can keep for up to 3 weeks. If you need to buy some I recommend Bellwether Farms.
~ One more thing: the surface of the pâté can turn a bit gray, even while in the fridge, if the plastic wrap is not placed directly onto the surface and sealed well. This is from oxidation and doesn't change the flavor, it just looks unsightly. You can skim the surface to remove the discolored pâté if it grosses you out. Something I would definitely do if serving to guests.
Other recipes that you may enjoy:
Chicken Liver Pate on Garlic Toasts
Traveling Food Lady's Got Company Coming
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