Recently I was inspired to make chicken liver pate. The inspiration came from two things: first, my realization that a pound of chicken livers could be procured for a mere $1.50 at the market and second, the Millie’s employee party at mamma zu, whereupon I attempted to beat the record for pate consumption (and later consumption in general.)
As it turns out, it could hardly be simpler to make this pate. That and its low low cost make it prime Single and Starving material. One can make googobs of the brandy-spiked pate for an hors d’ourve or gift with little effort or expense.
Chicken liver pate is pretty standard party fare. Type it into google, and you’ll likely find hundreds of recipes very similar to my own. To keep this pate from being just another ho-hum addition to the collection, I topped mine with a lychee gelee. I had some leftover lychees from martinis, so I reduced the juice and added some gelatin, et voila – a not-too-sweet protective coating for my precious pate. Does making a gelee intimidate you? It shouldn’t. Have you ever made jello? Well there you go…One word of advice, though, I would recommend gelatin in its powdered form. I find it easier to measure and store. Both powdered gelatin and sheets are stupidly easy to work with, however, and I recommend doing so for funsies whenever the mood should strike you. I had a fair bit of the lychee gelee leftover so I added a bit of vodka and made little lychee martini jello eggs with this weird jello-jiggler egg mold I found at the Elder Lebow Ranch. I could devote a whole blogisode to the awesomeness of these things: You can’t have just one, but you probably should…
Chicken Liver Pate with Lychee Gelee
1 pound chicken livers – trimmed, rinsed, patted dry
3-4 T. butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. brandy
a handful of thyme, some parsley stems, and a bay leaf
1/4 c. chopped parsley
PLENTY of salt
ground pepper to taste
2 c. lychee juice (you can do this gelee with any juice you like except pineapple. Apple would be lovely. You can also use a sweet wine like a Sauternes.)
1 packet powdered gelatin.
Simmer onion and garlic in melted butter until translucent. Add chicken livers, stock, and herbs, and allow to simmer until the livers have only a sliver (hah) of pink in the middle. Add the brandy and simmer for a minute or two more. Remove the herbs and, transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the chopped parsley and some salt and pepper. Thoroughly blend the pate. Taste for seasoning, and add as necessary.
When the pate is complete, pour into serving vessels of your choice. I chose to ramekins of several different shapes and sizes just to play around, but the same process is true for whatever you put your pate in: Tap the container on a flat surface to allow the pate to settle and any air pockets to go away, and then smooth the surface with a small offset spatula.
To make the gelee, sprinkle 1/2 cup of juice with the gelatin packet, and allow to sit while bringing the remaining 1 1/2 c. juice to a boil. Whisk congealed juice into the boiling juice. To top the pate, pour the mixture CAREFULLY over the surface. You want to avoid just dumping it on top because the juice will ‘kick up’ little bits of pate and look cloudy, aka gross. If you feel unsteady, try pouring the mixture over the back of a spoon to allow it to flow evenly and slowly. Refrigerate and prepare to enjoy. You should most definitely do this ahead of time. You could get away with a mere 12 hours, but 24 to 48 would be ideal.