Photo by Judith Hausman/UrbanFarmOnline.com
Confession: Despite the controversy surrounding foie gras, I love the stuff. Richer and smoother than cream-filled chocolate mousse, more unctuous and buttery than the stinkiest soft cheese, cognac-scented, satiny pâté de foie gras is just scrumptious to me.
Still, I rarely prepare even its poor relation, chicken liver pâté, because I don’t find chicken livers I trust. Recently, though, I got lucky.
A vendor at my farmers’ market was selling little tubs of livers from his beloved, free-range flock. Then, a fat broiler I had just bought from the farmer had its innards tucked inside. I froze the neck for making stock and slid the dark-red liver into a pan with the others.
I melted some butter in a small sauté pan. Because this is really the only way I eat any offal at all, I was pleased to celebrate by adding coarsely chopped, farm-fresh green garlic and red scallions to the sauté, as well. When the vegetables were soft and the livers no longer pink, I cooled them briefly and everything went into the food processor. This is where you can add even more butter if you like because the warm livers will melt it. After a good chilling to mellow the flavors, my pâté was ready to be spread across some simple crackers or slices of baguette. Voilà: a rare treat.
If you, too, want to give this recipe a try, talk to a chicken farmer that you trust to find out if he or she sells the livers separate from the chickens.
Yield: about 1 cup
- 8 ounces chicken livers
- 1/2 cup mixed shallots, scallions, green garlic, garlic scapes, coarsely chopped
- 2 to 4 T. butter, divided
- 1 to 2 T. cognac (dry sherry can be substituted)
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- 1 T. fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
Sauté shallots/garlic in 2 tablespoons butter until just soft. Add livers and sauté gently until no longer red and cooked through. Cool briefly. Whir the cooked livers and all remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adding about 2 more tablespoons butter while the livers are still warm enough to melt it. Scoop into a container and chill, allowing pâté to solidify and flavors to mellow.
As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City ‘burbs.