I know so many people who turn their noses up at chicken livers and I get it. It’s not pleasant thinking about organ meat and thinking about cooking and eating it. But I’m also the type of person who believes in nose to tail eating. I don’t like wasting meat (any of it) and I get really frustrated with people who overcook their meat, complaining that it’s dry and then leaving it on their plates. I am not and I will never be a Vegetarian but I do believe in treating meat with respect and educating yourself as much as possible to ensure you cook it well and therefore will be able to enjoy it fully.
I have converted many a ‘non-liver-eater’ with chicken liver Pâté because, even though I adore chicken livers as is, there is nothing like just-cooked livers blended with butter, brandy, cream and seasoning. The silky, rich and flavourful Pâté spread on thin, crisp toast has to be one of life’s simplest pleasures.
My mom made a mean Chicken Liver Pâté and I even included a very similar recipe in my new book but I stumbled across Julia Child’s Chicken Liver Mousse (Mousse de foies de volaille) and wanted to give it a go. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly as I didn’t have shallots in the house and flavoured it only with nutmeg, salt & white pepper. I wanted to see how duck fat would flavour the mousse so I used this instead of butter to fry the livers and the onions in. It adds a wonderful savoury richness to the mousse. I also didn’t top it with the Gelée but instead opted for simple clarified butter. It turns out this recipe isn’t all that different from my own (except that I like to add apples to mine to add a slight sweetness). It is utterly delicious. Rich, decadent and relatively simple to make. A good food processor is a must and you can pass the blended mixture through a sieve to get rid of any grittiness ( always do this to get rid of any chunks of onion/pepper still left in the mixture). I would add 2 apples, peeled and chopped to the onions while sauteing as I really enjoy the flavour it adds but this mousse is just fantastic as is. A real eating pleasure!
- 2 tablespoons duck fat
- 500 g free-range chicken livers cleaned & trimmed
- 2 small red onions finely chopped
- 100 ml brandy
- 125 ml cream
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- salt & fresh white pepper to taste
- 125 ml melted butter
- 150 g butter
- bread of your choice
- caramelised onions
Melt the 1 tablespoon of the duck fat in a large pan and fry the chicken livers until golden brown on each side and slightly pink in the middle.
Scrape into the bowl of a food processor.
Place the pan over high heat and fry the onions in the rest of the duck fat until soft and translucent.
Scrape into the food processor with the chicken livers.
Place the pan back onto the heat and deglaze with the brandy. Allow the brandy to reduce by half and scrape into the bowl with the chicken livers and onions.
Add the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
With the processor running, pour in the melted butter and blend until incorporated.
If you want the mousse to be smoother, pass through a sieve before placing into glass jars/small bowls.
To make the clarified butter, melt the butter over a gentle heat. When the butter is melted, allow it to sit for 5 minutes and allow all the milk solids to sink to the bottom of the pan.
Slowly pour the clear butter at the top through a muslin-lined sieve into a small measuring jug.
Pour the clarified butter over the surface of the chicken liver mousse.
Place the mousse in the fridge and allow to set for 2 hours before serving.
Serve with bread of your choice and caramelised onions.