Monday 23 April 2018

Chicken liver pâté with fig jam

For the pâté 400g/14oz fresh chicken livers, well trimmed

300ml/11fl oz milk

100g/4oz unsalted butter, softened

3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1 tsp thyme, chopped

1 tbsp port

5 eggs

1 tbsp double cream

Maldon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper For the fig jam 3 tbsps olive oil

3 red onions, peeled and sliced

225g/8oz dried figs, chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

150ml/¼ pint red wine

2 tbsps balsamic vinegar

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp thyme, chopped

Thyme sprigs, to serve

You can buy many types of pâté, but I love to make my own -- it's that little bit more special, particularly as this recipe was passed on to me by my mum. The pâté will keep for three to four days in the fridge. I've made it in individual ramekins, but it can also be made in a 1.2 litre (two pint) loaf tin lined with clingfilm. Prepare as described below but increase the cooking time to one hour. When completely cooled, invert on to a flat plate or board, peel away the cling film and cut into slices with a warmed knife. Serves eight.

1 To make the fig jam: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then tip in the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft but not browned. Stir in the figs and garlic until well combined, then pour in the red wine and balsamic vinegar. Cook for about 10 minutes until thickened slightly -- the alcohol will have cooked off.

2Stir in the sugar and thyme, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend in a food processor for one to two minutes until smooth, then allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight sterilised jar in the fridge and use as required. It will keep stored like this for up to two months.

3To make the pâté: Place the chicken livers in a non-metallic bowl, pour the milk over them and cover the bowl with cling- film. Leave in the fridge overnight. This will remove any traces of blood.

4The next day, drain off the milk and pat the livers dry with kitchen paper. Melt 25g/1oz of the butter in a sauté pan and gently sweat the shallots, garlic and thyme for four to five minutes until softened but not browned. Add the port and cook for another minute until evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

5Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Place the drained chicken livers in a food processor and blend for about two to three minutes until very smooth. Add the shallot mixture, eggs, remaining butter and cream, along with plenty of salt and pepper. Blend again for about 30 seconds until well combined. Pass the chicken-liver mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug and then pour it into eight 100ml/3½fl oz individual ramekins -- the mixture should come two-thirds of the way up the sides but it will rise higher during cooking. Cover each ramekin with foil and place them in a bain-marie (a roasting tin half-filled with boiling water).

6Cook for 20-25 minutes until set but still with a slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the bain-marie and remove the foil, then allow to cool completely. Place in the fridge until needed.

Serve the pâté straight from the ramekins, with crusty bread and a dollop of fig jam. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Irish Independent

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