Chicken Liver Pâté
Good chicken liver pâté needs only a slice of decent bread, toasting optional. But as this anniversary falls during winter’s festive first half, we’re opting for an abundance of flavor and spreading this smooth pâté on a crunchy, seeded cracker smeared with bright, bitter marmalade. This recipe is adapted from Jacques Pepin. —SL
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 small garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup water
3 sticks good-quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ teaspoons brandy
Freshly ground pepper
Good quality marmalade
“Everything” seeded crackers
In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken livers, shallot, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are barely pink inside, about 3 minutes (Cut one open to check color at about 2½ minutes). Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers, shallot, and garlic to a food processor; process until roughly pureed. With the machine on, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Pour in the brandy, season with salt and pepper and process until completely smooth. Scrape the pâté into 2 large serving ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm, 4–6 hours. Serve chilled on crackers spread with marmalade. If not serving pâté immediately after it sets, simply cover with a thin layer of melted butter, wrap in plastic, and chill for up to one week or freeze for up to 2 months.
Wine Pairing—The delicious fat content in this kind of pâté needs acidity not sweetness when it comes to choosing a wine. I recommend a Sparkling Rosé like Nicolas Feuillatte or an approachable Burgundy. — Derek Reno