This is one of the first dishes I served my husband when we were dating; he passed the adventurous eating test on my side to be invited for future dinners. And it must have done the trick for him because he kept coming back for more dates (and dinners).
I think it is worth going into your old recipe files occasionally. Who knows what forgotten memories and fun treasures you will turn up. I haven’t made chicken liver mushroom pate for years and am happy to be reacquainted with it. The recipe was forgotten until I started reading Martin Walker’s excellent detective series (Bruno, Chief of Police). I binge read the entire series while recovering from surgery. The books are placed in Bergerac in the Dordogne region of France. The food and wine of that region are a major part of the books; duck liver being front and center. I’ve only had foie gras once in my life, our French waiter had to strongly recommend it before I tried it accompanied by the traditional glass of sauterne But, its introduction was eye opening! What an amazingly delicious experience! I never would have guessed. This chicken liver and mushroom pate is my poor man’s substitute. Foie gras (as well as being pricy), is illegal in California. The necessary force feeding of the geese being deemed cruel in our state. Please don’t put the two side-by-side, there will be no comparison with the “real thing”. But this chicken liver and mushroom pate can stand on its own.
Not everyone likes chicken livers but I adore them. This is really more of a smooth spread than an actual pate. It is perfect for serving with crisp bread, melba toast, or crackers as a before dinner snack or on a picnic. A glass of champagne goes beautifully, chardonnay would also be good and would match the creamy richness of the spread.
The original recipe was written in a small book (almost more accurately a pamphlet as there were only a dozen pages), published by the winery Paul Masson. The recipes in the book highlighted their wines, of course. It was published in 1968 but I came across it in the mid 70’s. I don’t remember exactly how I acquired it. The stamp on the front is a liquor store in Burlingame, CA and my first apartment when I moved to California from New York was in Burlingame. Maybe the store was handing them out to encourage wine sales. Burlingame is very near the airport and at the time I was waiting to see if my transfer request with United would go through, something that didn’t happen.
I passed this recipe to my mother, and it became a favorite of hers. Along the way we made some modifications. The original recipe called for dill and I just couldn’t see it with chicken livers! Not to mention I am not a big fan, although I like fennel. Taste is strange isn’t it? Anyway, I substituted herbs de Provence, one of my favorite blends. You could also use thyme, it would be a classic combination with the rosemary.
Over the years there have been other adaptations and alterations. My recipe calls for a little less butter (hard to imagine!), less wine and the addition of a spot of brandy as well as the switch of herbs.
The pate freezes beautifully, I freeze portions in 4 oz wide mouth canning jars. It will keep at least 3 months in the freezer, maybe longer, with no loss of flavor. The recipe makes enough for 4 small jars. Glaze the surface with a slick of melted butter after you fill them. It will protect the pate from freezer burn. Simply remove a jar from the freezer a day before you want to serve it, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. This is a perfect snack to have on hand for guests; add some crisp bread, cheese, maybe some salad and wine. You have an instant mini meal.
Chicken Liver Mushroom Pate (makes about 1 1/2 pints)
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus 1/2 a stick for finishing
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. of chicken livers
- 1/2 lb. of mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup of thinly sliced green onions plus some of the green tops
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 small or 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of herbs de Provence
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, I use Coleman’s
- 1/4 cup of dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons of brandy
- kosher or sea salt as needed
- About 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat
- Add the chicken livers, mushrooms, onions, and salt; saute for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally
- Add the wine, garlic, mustard, herbs, rosemary, and brandy. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat.
- Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until livers and mushrooms are tender.
- Uncover and continue to cook on higher heat until almost all of the liquid has disappeared.
- Whirl in a blender until almost smooth, add the 1/2 stick of butter and continue to blend until smooth.
- Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Pack in small crocks or canning jars, wipe the edges and coat the top with melted butter.
- Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or more.
The pate is best served with crisp warm sourdough bread or large sesame crackers.
I am taking this to share on Fiesta Friday #194 hosted by Angie. Please stop by to see all the goodies our friends have brought to the party and add your own link if you are a food blogger. The cohosts this week are Petra @ Food Eat Love and Vanitha @ Curry and Vanilla.