Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicken Liver Pate with a Fig and Red Wine Compote

I've mentioned before that a lot of people in my family are big fans of chicken livers; when I brought a Daring Cook's pate recipe to a party, people claimed to love it even though it looked and tasted a bit like dog food. So when another family party came around, I decided that I wanted to attempt a chicken liver pate reprisal.

Some internet searching turned up an Epicurious recipe, which, once modified, produced almost exactly what I was looking for. This pate is smooth and sophisticated, not to mention delicious. Plus, it's super-easy to make, but if you don't tell people about that little fact, they'll probably think that you spent a few hours on it. You can even make it way ahead of time, freeze it, and then defrost it for impromptu dinner parties.

Chicken Liver Pate with a Fig and Red Wine Compote
(Adapted from Epicurious)
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed
  • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 small pinches allspice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup dried black Mission figs, cut in half
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 1 French-bread baguette, sliced, toasted if you like
Spray a 3-cup soufflé dish, a terrine, or 4 6-ounce ramekins (my preference) with vegetable oil spray. Line the dish or dishes with plastic wrap; spray plastic. Combine chicken livers, broth and onion in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until livers are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

While the chicken livers simmer, bring wine, figs, rosemary, and 3 grinds of fresh black pepper to simmer in small saucepan. Simmer until figs soften, about 15 minutes. Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce the wine until it's a thick syrup, about 5 minutes (you'll probably have a tablespoon or two). Remove and discard the rosemary.

In a blender or in the bowl of a small food processor, puree the figs into a paste. Spoon the syrup into the bottom of the prepared dish or dishes, and spoon the figs over top.

Drain cooking liquid; transfer chicken livers and onion to food processor. Add butter, Cognac, salt, thyme, allspice, and 4 grinds of black pepper to processor. Puree until smooth. Spoon on top of the fig puree, and fold the plastic wrap down over the surface, or cover with more plastic wrap if there is not enough to fold over. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Unmold pâté onto platter. If you're using the nuts, press them onto sides of pâté. Serve with toasts or bread.

1 comment:

chesapeakecon said...

OMG - it was heavenly - finished every bit !