My coworker Pete has begun a new practice of potluck lunches in the office to mark some kind of holiday or date. Almost everyone participates and shows off either their culinary skills or a great food vendor in their neighborhood (thinking about Churro Factory, Yvette.) It started last March with Pi Day, as in the number PI 3.14,.and has continued with real or imagined holidays (Mother Goose Day?) This Monday we celebrated Bastille Day. Pete asked me to bring in a French-Irish mashup. I thought immediately about a recipe for chicken liver pate that was given to me when I was a university student by my Auntie Chrissie’s best friend Sheila Boyle, a wonderful home cook and lovely person. That was more than 30 years ago and Sheila was making this recipe long before she passed it along to me. It’s one of my mother’s favorites. She requests it for Christmas and as a hostess gift for relatives during the holidays. My Dublin friend Liz even bought me a special Christmas serving dish to encourage me to make it for Christmas parties.
Pate is typically a French dish, but it’s very popular in Ireland. You can even find it in little corner shops that have a deli case. It’s not that difficult to make, but seems impressive. I do think the quality of the chicken livers makes a difference, try to get organic livers if possible. I’ve found supermarket chicken livers from the large national poultry producers to be a bit tasteless, but garlic, fresh herbs, and brandy boost the flavor so they will do in a pinch.
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- 1 lb. chicken livers – well-rinsed (kosher or organic chicken livers are best)
- 2 eggs
- 1 oz. butter
- 1 oz. cream
- Chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, rosemary
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp. brandy or sherry
- ¼ tsp. coriander seeds
- 4 slices American bacon to line a loaf pan
- Pre-heat oven to Gas mark 4, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees celcius.
- Rinse chicken livers well. Cut off connective tissue. Put livers in blender or food processor on low for one minute.
- Add all other ingredients.
- Line a loaf pan with bacon slices. Add liver mixture. Cover with tin foil.
- Fill a larger pan or oven safe dish – large enough to hold the loaf pan and deep enough so that when water is added it can come up a quarter way on the loaf pan. Place larger dish on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven. Place tin foil covered loaf pan into the larger dish. Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours. The paté is cooked when it shrinks from the sides of the loaf pan and the juices run clear. You can also stick a sharp knife into the center, it will come out clean when the pate is cooked.
- Remove loaf pan from the oven. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
- Spread pate on toast and serve.
Use Kosher or organic chicken livers if possible, they have a better flavor.