I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love pâtè whether chicken, duck liver or indeed a delicious mushroom pâtè.
Pâtè can actually be traced back to 1695, when it was originally known as paste: ‘
Here is a little nostalgia for you:
‘Millions in Australia, grew up on the product that arrived from Great Britain in 1904, and had its strongest sales in the 1950s and 1960s.’ (Taken from the generalmills website)
Ohh memories. If you are an avid watcher of any Agatha Christie shows this little gem is often featured. Perhaps by a different brand but Im sure the contents are the same. they do have a lobster and crab variety which I must say I’m tempted to try, just to say I’ve had lobster from a jar really.
During the last few years I have realised how simple, and economic it is to make my own pâtè. I did need to overcome my fear of handling livers and worrying if they were fresh enough.
I’m always going on about knowing your producers and buying the freshest you can, well if your familiar with this rant and know it all by heart, look away now as here I go again!
When dealing with any offal there is no doubt you need to take extra care, I will only purchase my livers from a very reputable supplier. I really don’t want to risk anything less than the freshest in this case. I currently only have 2 suppliers that I’m using, one is at my monthly Veg Out Farmers market and the other at Prahran markets, I know there is no doubt, more within my shopping reach, but for now, I’ll stick to who I know and trust. Not to put you off as I think these days most suppliers take pride in their product. I’ll leave you to be the judge of your local suppliers.
When buying livers do look for plump and dry, with a matte gloss on the surface. If the livers have a slickness to their surface and a slightly rank odour, say no thank you and head to the deli counter for ready-made but nowhere near as delicious pâtè.
Sometimes I buy frozen livers or if I buy fresh I often freeze them so I always have some on hand. To defrost leave in the fridge overnight, then place in milk for at least 6 hours.
Rant over, come back now if you took time out to make a cup of tea.
My favourite really has to be duck liver pâtè, but I do make chicken and sometimes combine chicken and duck.
Below is my favourite recipe and the one I make if I’m having guests, it is very decadent and heavy on the luxurious products of butter and cream. I usually make more than we will consume on the day, as I find my guests are pretty keen for a take-home pack.
Your food processor will also make a difference to the creaminess if the texture is an issue you do need a processor that is quite strong. My photos are from a day I used my hand processor and couldn’t be bothered to push the pâtè through a sieve. You may notice my finished product is not quite as creamy as it could be, the texture isn’t an issue for me as it is all about taste.
Whilst this recipe is using 500 grams of livers, I often make much smaller batches to get me through the week. Once you have tried a couple of times it will become quite easy to judge ingredients to meet different quantities.
Pâtè, Chicken or Duck
Pâté is a luxurious treat that is actually very simple to make at home, a good food processor is a must or you will need to push through a metal sieve which can be time-consuming. It freezes quite well although it will have a slightly rougher texture once defrosted. The flavour will still be there though
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: French
- 500 grams duck and/or chicken livers
- 200 grams butter plus
- about 200 grams additional butter for clarified butter / or 150 mls clarified butter
- 2 shallots or half an onion finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons thyme (fresh) or half a tbsp if using dried
- 100 grams bacon
- 50 mls brandy
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup cream
Although not totally necessary I do soak my livers in milk, I have been told this helps to remove any bitterness. Prepare the liver by cutting off any white sinewy or greenish looking bits. This will be minimal if you have very fresh liver.
With about 30-gram butter gently fry the shallots, garlic and thyme for about 5 minutes. Pour into your food processor.
Cut the bacon into small pieces, fry until well cooked (remove rind). Add to shallot mixture in your food processor
With another 30 grams butter fry the livers, very gently, you want them browned but still pink on the inside. 3-4 minutes. Add to food processor
De-glaze the frying pan with the brandy, 2-3 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add to food processor
To the mixture in the food processor add the vinegar and remaining 140 grams (approx) of butter (softened) and the cream.
Blitz all ingredients together. I find my Magimix does a magnificent job but if you want a little creamier texture, push the mixture through a metal sieve.
Place the pâtè into your desired dish and cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Be sure to cover the mixture with cling film, right on the pâtè as any air will create oxidation and discolour the pâtè.
Once the butter has cooled slightly but is still pourable, pour over the top of the pâtè. Place back in the fridge until the butter top is solid.
Clarified Butter: using about 200 grams (additional) butter heat until melted. Clarified butter is made taking the milk solids (frothy bits) of the top.
My choice of serving dish varies, sometimes I place in single serve pots or I use my terrine or loaf baking dish. When using a loaf or terrine I line with plastic wrap as this makes for an ease when pulling out the final product. It looks lovely on a serving board and everyone can cut themselves a slice. Plus it is easy to freeze in single slices wrapped in cling film.
There are many options to change the flavour of your pate, instead of the brandy you could use port, or Cointreau. I have added green peppercorns to jazz it up a bit too.
Enjoy your pâtè, I’m off to master the art of bread making, I’m still practising for that perfect loaf.