Petite Chicken Liver Pâté For Two!
There are many different chicken liver pâté recipes and there are several different textures to choose from. Some are smooth and spreadable, like a mousse. Purists usually agree that when a pâté is soft enough to spread on toast, then it should be called a spread or mousse. Traditionalists claim that a pâté should congeal and gel to become firm or semi firm in a mold. I tend to agree with this definition, because pâté is a type of terrine.
There are many traditional names for specific pâtés. It is good to do a little bit of research, before giving a pâte creation a name, especially if the item is placed on a menu.
Pâté Maison translates to pâté of the house. Pâté Maison is usually made with pork liver and ground pork. It is usually flavored with local choice mushrooms. The main ingredients do not always have to be pork. By definition, it is a specialty of the house and the ingredients can change from house to house. American style meat loaf actually is an unrefined Pâté Maison. Every American home cook and chef has a favorite Meat Loaf recipe.
French country style pâté (Pâté de Pays or Paysan) is often a rustic loaf of large chucks of a variety of farm animal livers that are baked in a gelled puree of the same mixture of liver or baked in a firm beef aspic. There is usually plenty of pork fat or lardons in the mixture. In the old days before refrigeration, the organ meat was the first item cooked on days when animals were being slaughtered. Liver spoils quickly, so pâté making was a saving grace.
Pâté Foie Gras of any kind is in a league of its own. This pâté can be made mousseline style and formed as a petite loaf or cylinder shape. Black truffle often flavors pâté foie gras. Seared foie gras slices can also be layered in firm aspic to make a terrine.
Pâté en Croûte refers to a pâté that is baked in a thin pastry crust. The pâté inside the pastry is usually surrounded with firm aspic. Steel pipe chimneys must be set in place on top of the pastry crust as steam vents, to release pressure while this item bakes.
Many Alsace region pâtés require an outer coating of thin sliced cured pork fat or salt pork. When properly made, an Alsace style pâté can command a slightly higher price on a menu.
Basically, a chef or home cook cannot go wrong by using a basic pâté description as a name. Pâté Maison, Country style Pâté and Pâté en Croûte can be made with a wide variety of meat and liver fillings. Giving a pâté creation a generic name like Pork Liver Pâté or Chicken Liver Pâté is good too.
Chicken Liver Pâté is very cost effective and it is a real crowd pleaser. There are an endless variety of ways to flavor Chicken Liver Pâté. Brandy, mushroom, mace, lardons and rich aspic are classic choices for flavoring a Chicken Liver Pâté.
Firm Beef Aspic:
This recipe yields enough firm texture aspic for 3 petite chicken liver pâtés.
Step 1: Mix 1 1/2 ounces of rich beef consommé with 1 gram of powdered gelatin in a small sauce pot.
Heat the mixture over very low heat till, the gelatin dissolves.
Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat.
Keep the aspic warm on a stove top.
*If the aspic cools and gels, reheat the aspic so it becomes a liquid state, before adding it to the pâté mixture later in the recipe.
Pâté Foie de Volaille Preparation:
This recipe yields about 18 ounces of chicken liver påté mixture. (Enough for 3 petite pâtés.)
This is not a smooth spreadable pâté. It is a firm pâté that can be sliced.
Step 1: Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
Add 1 ounce of unsalted butter.
Add 1 tablespoon of smoked pork fat lardons. (thick smoked bacon lardons)
Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
Add 2 tablespoons of minced onion.
Add 3 tablespoons of minced portobello mushrooms.
Gently sauté and sweat the vegetables, till they become tender.
Step 2: Raise the temperature to medium heat.
Add 4 ounces of trimmed chicken livers.
Briefly sauté till the livers are only halfway cooked.
Step 3: Add 3 ounces of brandy.
Step 4: Remove the pan from the heat.
Let the ingredients cool to room temperature.
Step 5: Remove the partially cooked chicken livers from the pan and place them in a container.
Chill the half cooked chicken livers till later in the recipe.
Step 6: Place the remaining ingredients of the pan, including the butter and lardon fats, into a food processor.
Add 11 ounces of raw uncooked trimmed chicken livers.
Add the reserved firm beef aspic.
Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Add 2 ounces of diced cured pork fat. (Salt pork fat can be used, but it must be soaked in water, so some of the salt content is leached out.)
Add 1/4 teaspoon of fine ground mace.
Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 2 to 3 pinches of white pepper.
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt. (to taste)
Puree the mixture till it is very smooth.
Step 7: Place the pâté puree mixture in a mixing bowl.
Cut the reserved partially cooked whole chicken livers into small bite size pieces.
Add the chicken liver pieces to the puree while stirring.
Chill the pâté mixture till it is needed.
Petite Pâté Foie de Volaille:
This recipe yields 3 petite pâtés that weigh about 6 ounces apiece.
Step 1: Select 3 mini terrine molds that have a 6 to 8 ounce capacity.
*Petite earthenware or enameled steel terrine molds work best. Petite baking pans or silicone baking molds can also be used. The molds can have any kind of shape. A silicon caramel custard cup baking mold was used for the pâté in the pictures. I used tiny rectangular mini meat loaf baking pans to make 2 more pates that are not pictured above.
Brush 3 petite terrine molds with melted lard or melted unsalted butter.
Step 2: Stir the chicken liver pâté mixture.
Fill each terrine mold so it is almost completely full. (About 1/4" from the top.)
Step 3: Place the terrines in a high sided roasting pan.
Add enough water to the pan, so the level of water comes halfway up the sides of the terrine molds. (bain marie)
Step 4: Place the bain marie in a 275ºF oven.
Bake till the pâtés are fully cooked. (Add water to the bain marie if evaporation occurs.)
*The center temperature of each pâté should be at least 165ºF for 15 seconds, but no more than 180ºF or the fats will separate. Different shapes and sizes of petite terrine molds may require separate baking times.
Step 5: Remove the bain marie pan from the oven.
Let the pâtés gradually cool to room temperature in the main marie.
Step 6: Remove the pâtés from the bain marie.
Cover each terrine mold with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate the the pâtés to 41ºF.
Step 7: Place a flat weigh on each molded pâté or stack the terrine pans if they are the same size. The weigh will press the pâté and cause it to become dense.
Chill the pâtés for 24 to 48 hours.
Step 8: When a pâté is needed, gently warm the terrine mold in a sauté pan that is partially filled with water over very low heat. After the terrine mold is warmed, the pâté should easily pop out when inverted and tapped on a cutting board.
Petite Pâté Foie de Volaille Platter:
This recipe describes 1 petite chicken liver pâté platter that can be shared by 2 guests.
Cut a baguette into thin slices and place them on a sheet pan.
Brush with olive oil or melted unsalted butter.
Bake in a 325ºF till they become lightly toasted and crisp.
Set the Crostini aside.
Mix 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise with 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard.
Place the Dijon Mayonnaise in a small ramekin.
Place 1 ounce of cream in a small mixing bowl.
Add 1 ounce of sour cream.
Whisk till combined.
Set the crème fraîche aside.
*The object is to tastefully organize the platter so it looks full, without a looking cluttered. The pâté should be the primary focal point.
Step 1: Place 1 Petite Pâté Foie de Volaille on the front center of a large oval platter.
Step 2: Overlap the crostini on the back half of the platter.
Step 3: Place the ramekin of Dijon Mayonnaise on the platter.
Step 4: Arrange these garnishes or garnishes of your choice) on the platter any way that is preferred:
- thin sliced Persian Pickled Lemon
- dime slices of Persian Pickled Wild Cucumber
- thin sliced roasted red bell pepper strips
Step 5: Place a quenelle of the crème fraîche on top of the pâté.
Cascade a few rinsed capers over the crème fraîche, pâté and onto the platter.
Sprinkle 1 small pinch of Hungarian paprika over the creme fraiche.
Place small sprigs of Italian Parsley on both sides of the pâté.
Viola! An elegant Petite Pâté Foie de Volaille pour deux!