Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gourmet chicken liver pâté

This easy recipe for delicious chicken liver pâté is adapted slightly from Mark Bittman's recipe, 12/30/09 New York Times. It should be puréed very smooth and refrigerated for a few hours to achieve the right consistency; however, babies and toddlers will enjoy eating some warm from a spoon directly after puréeing. For a snack or light lunch rich in nourishing fat-soluble vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, folic acid, and much more, serve on buttered whole grain sourdough bread (I recommend toasted!) along with fermented grape juice or my lacto-fermented ginger ale.

* 15 peppercorns
* 4 allspice berries
* 2 cloves
* 8 coriander seeds
* 2 tbsp. butter + 6 tbsp. butter
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 pound chicken livers (from free-range, pastured, organically-raised chickens -- livers may be soaked in lemon juice for several hours to draw out toxins, but honestly I have never done this yet)
* 2-3 tablespoons brandy (any inexpensive brand will do)
* unrefined sea salt to taste
* 1/3 cup cream (heavy/light/or cultured, such as sour cream or creme fraiche)

1. In a spice grinder or using a knife (heavy handle for crushing, then the blade for mincing), crush the peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves and coriander seeds; grind until fine and set aside.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add livers to pan along with any blood that is in the package (don't worry about separating out the connective tissue -- just dump everything in) and sprinkle thoroughly with salt; cook livers on one side until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes, then flip them and cook the other side (sprinkle with salt again). Be sure to keep heat relatively high so that the outside of the livers sear and the inside stays pink. Add brandy while cooking so the alcohol will evaporate.

3. Put onion, livers and the pan juices into a food processor or blender with the remaining butter (6 tbsp.), the cream, and spices. Purée mixture until it is completely smooth; taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Put pâté in a crock or heavy glass dish with lid, smooth the top and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or until fully set. Serve with fresh or toasted whole-grain sourdough bread.

LIVER: What's not to love? Quite simply, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. In summary, liver provides:
• An excellent source of high-quality protein
• Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
• All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
• One of our best sources of folic acid
• A highly usable form of iron
• Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
• An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
• CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
• A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.

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