We both love pâté. It’s great if you don’t feel like cooking – just pull some out and spread it on toast. But it’s even better if you’ve made it yourself. Quite often we don’t mind buying it, but for the same price you can make about 2-3 times as much as you would get if you bought a small commercial tub. Here is a simple recipe that anyone can do.
If you feel adventurous you can add all sorts of interesting things to it, including green peppercorns, orange liqueur, brandy, dry port, dry vermouth and your favourite types of herbs. This is how we made it today and reflects the kinds of things we had on hand. Vodka is not a traditional addition, and can certainly be replaced by one of the aforementioned alcohols, but it was the only hard booze we had laying around; I also added golden syrup to make the vodka a bit more like a brown spirit. The recipe went something like this…
Ingredients – recipe by Canaan Perry
400 – 500g chicken livers
200g bacon, finely sliced
1 large onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 & 1/2 teaspoons white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
4 whole cloves
1dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 blades of mace
2 tablespoons vodka
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
2 teaspoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
additional melted butter to seal
- Fry the bacon in a medium-hot pan for about 5-10 minutes, or until slightly crisped.
- Add the onions and garlic, and about 20g of the butter, and fry together for about 10-15 minutes on a low-medium heat, or until the onions are very soft.
- In a mortar and pestle, pulverise the peppercorns, bayleaf, paprika, salt, cloves, mixed spice ginger, thyme, and mace, to a fine powder.
- Add this spice mix to the pan mix and heat through to wake up their flavours.
- Remove contents of the pan and put them in a food processor.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan, and when the foam subsides, add the livers and fry until brown on both sides. They should be cooked through, but a trace of pink in the centre is desirable when making pâté.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the livers in the pan and cook for a moment or two longer.
- Place the livers in the food processor (atop the onion mix), though reserve the remaining juices in the pan just for the moment.
- Turn on the food processor and puree the ingredients for about 5 minutes. Stop the machine now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything gets processed.
- When everything seems quite smooth, pour the pan juices through the spout of the processor while the machine is running.
- Make sure everything is well incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required. Remember, cold food is generally blander than warm food, so if it seems just salty enough when it’s warm it will probably not be seasoned properly when it’s cold, so as a rule slightly overseason.
- Place the pâté in to some attractive serving bowls, compacting in and smoothing their surfaces. Leave some head room in the bowls.
- Cover the tops with melted butter to seal. (This will help to keep the pâté fresh).
- Place in to the refrigerator for several hours and allow to set.
Consume within 2-3 days, or freeze and consume within 2-3 months.
Serve with toast, fresh bread, crackers, cheese platters, pickles, fruit conserves, or inside Beef Wellington!