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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 foodwriter, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but localproducers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close tohome takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, onetiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at atime. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town inthe New York City ‘burbs.Practice some beak-to-tail eating by making a French delicacy with livers leftover from your roasted chickens.Practice some beak-to-tail eating by making a French delicacy with livers leftover from your roasted chickens.http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/images/blogs/pate_800.jpgpate, pâté, chicken liver, chicken livers, foie gras