Monday, 17 March 2008


I know I said I wasn't going to use this blog anymore, but we made pate last week and I wanted to record how we did it and how we'd do it next time so that next time the urge strikes me I have a recipe of sorts.

We started with:

  • 200g fresh duck livers - Tim said to pick them over carefully for gallbladders
    (!) but we didn't find any. Next time I would try half duck half chicken livers.
  • Half a bottle or so of red wine and a cup or so of Brandy reduced with aromatics (I used peppercorns, juniper berries, some thyme) to 4-6 tablespoons of syrupy liquid
  • Butter - 150g plus more to cook the livers in. This needs to be at room temperature otherwise, apparently, you get flecks of butter in your pate.

  • plenty of salt and pepper

  • Then we:
    Firstly we got the butter out and chopped it up a bit and did the same to the livers.
    Then we arranged the things the finished pate would go into. We weren't planning on turning it out, so we just gave the pots/ramekins we used a light spray of cooking oil. If we had been going to turn them out I could have given them a good spray with oil, then lined them with glad wrap before getting fancy with the gelatin.
    We then fried the livers, a few at a time in plentiful butter. The livers need to be seared but not cooked through.
    As the livers were cooked they were tossed into the food processor, once they were all done I threw in the rest of the butter, the strained reduction and plenty of salt and pepper.
    It got a decent blitzing before I tasted it for seasoning. Since at this stage it's warm pureed semi-cooked liver it'll need more salt because you won't taste the salt as much when it's chilled.
    Blitz to mix in the added salt and then pour it onto the waiting containers.

    Before popping it in the fridge we covered each little pot with clarified butter to ensure it keeps it's colour nicely (success!).

    The verdict:
    Well, it was definitely pate, which is a start, but it was a bit dark and intense, for our personal taste. Since it was made with duck livers (rather gamey) and red wine (dark red) that's not surprising. If I was doing it again I would add a splash of cream, some tinned green peppercorns and I'd probably play around with the booze that went into the reduction. I'd also consider using half or all chicken livers to scale back the intensity. I think I want to make it again....