Chicken liver pâté with verjus and cider jelly
- July 2016
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 45 min, plus chilling
Chicken liver pâté is combined with acidic, sour, yet delicately flavoured verjus for the perfect toast accompaniment.
- 32.6g (20.1g saturated)
- 3.7g (2.9g sugars)
For the pâté
- 225g very soft unsalted butter
- 450g British free-range chicken livers, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 250ml dry cider (we used Henney’s)
- Large splash brandy or calvados (optional but encouraged)
- Sourdough toast and salad leaves to serve (optional)
For the jelly
- 4 gelatine leaves (we used Costa Fine Leaf, from Waitrose and Ocado)
- 100ml verjus
- 200ml dry cider
- 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Melt a knob of the butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. When sizzling, fry the chicken livers in batches – don’t crowd the pan – for about 1 minute on each side (take care as they can spit). When just pink in the middle – cut one or two open to check – transfer to a bowl to cool.
- Melt a third of the remaining butter in the pan and cook the onion gently, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes until translucent and turning lightly golden. Add the garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes, then turn up the heat and pour in the cider (and the brandy if using). Bubble for 3-4 minutes until reduced and syrupy, then spread the mixture over a plate and leave to cool until just warm or until it’s room temperature.
- Transfer the livers, cooled onion mixture and remaining butter to a blender and whizz for 4-5 minutes until it’s as smooth as you can get it. If necessary, pass through a fine sieve. Transfer to a 900ml or 1 litre container, smooth the top, then chill for 2-3 hours.
- To make the jelly, soak the gelatine in cold water. Combine the verjus and cider in a jug, then pour 75ml of the mixture into a small pan and heat until steaming. Once the gelatine is floppy, drain and squeeze out the liquid. Stir into the hot cider and verjus mixture to dissolve, then strain the liquid through a sieve lined with kitchen paper back into the jug and stir. Set aside.
- Once the pâté has set, pour the liquid jelly over the top (if the jelly has foam on top, pour it through a sieve onto the pâté). Top with the thyme, then return the pâté to the fridge for 4 hours until set. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before serving to take the chill off, then serve on sourdough toast with salad leaves on the side if you like.
What is verjus?
Verjus, or sometimes verjuice, is quite literally 'green juice' from the French words vert (green) and jus (juice). Not necessarily green in colour, as it can be made from red grapes too. Verjus is the pressed juice of unripened grapes. It has a gentler, less acidic flavour than vinegar.
How do I use verjus?
With its slightly acidic sweet-tart taste it can be great used to boost sauces, salad dressings or mustards.
You can make the jelly (step 4) using apple juice instead of cider, if you don’t want it so boozy.
The pâté will keep, chilled and covered with cling film, for 3-4 days or for 24 hours once cut.
When trimming chicken livers, discard any sinewy or green-tinged bits as they can taste bitter.
A good bottled cider – medium-dry and not too fizzy – is great here. Alternatively, go for a fruity beaujolais villages.
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