You know those recipes that knock around in the back of your mind, tormenting and tempting you, but you just never quite get around to tackling them? I have many. Olive oil-packed homemade canned tuna. Potato-free, gluten-free gnocchi. Really good chocolate cake. Chicken liver paté.
Yes. You read that correctly. Chicken liver paté.
I have been dreaming of making my own chicken liver paté for about about two years. I got hooked on paté in France in 2007. In 2008 I ate amazing paté at a fancy holiday party at my manager's house and almost died from pleasure. But sadly, I haven't had liver paté since; store-bought liver paté just has too many things I can't eat. I've looked up recipes, I've sourced out organic chicken livers at my local co-op, and I've scribbled down ideas. But I just haven't done the deed.
This week the time finally time. Upon seeing this recipe for Tuscan Chicken Liver Paté on Food 52, I knew I had to make it. Anything that includes garlic, onions, anchovies, and capers sounds good to me. It sounded simple to make and easy to adapt to my needs. I was a woman on a mission.
Oddly enough, the first co-op I visited to buy organic chicken liver was completely sold out until Tuesday. How random! The guy at the meat counter seemed kind of perplexed. So, off to another co-op to find liver. Thankfully, they had plenty. I went home, whipped this up, and found myself eating paté in my kitchen less than one hour later. I fell in love with liver all over again.
Before you completely write me off as being insane for loving liver so darn much, give me the opportunity to convince you why you should learn to love liver. Liver is an incredibly nutrient dense food, providing massive amounts of good stuff!
- Liver is an excellent source vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, riboflavin, selenium.
- Liver is a strong source of DHA, EPA, and AA, fatty acids that are essential for the body
- 1 oz of cooked chicken liver contains a whopping 7 grams of protein but only about 40 calories
Considering that liver is fairly inexpensive (one pound of liver was only $3.59/lb), it provides incredible nutrition per dollar. And while it is high in cholesterol, a serving of paté here and there shouldn't be a problem for you if you are eating a clean diet free of all those other nasty cholesterol sources. Make sure to get organic liver from animals that are free of antibiotics and hormones. The liver is basically a filter, right? Animals that are exposed to chemicals will have a higher toxic load, and therefore, that little liver is going to full of all those chemical residues. You eat that, and it adds to your own body's toxic load. Not good! So buy happy organic liver and save yourself all those toxins. Also, make sure the livers are fresh as possible. If you don't see them in your butcher case, just ask - they might be able to special order them for you!
Wondering how to eat paté? I ate it smeared on a wide variety of vegetables, from collard leaves to carrots, and spread on a lovely slice of Pumpkinseed Teff Sandwich Bread I pulled from my freezer. I also made little "sliders" - thin slices of radish and cucumber layered with paté, and topped with mustard. The lightness of the cucumber and the bite of the radish were an excellent contrast to the richness of the paté.
Paté is a great low-carb, high protein solution for snacks and meals, and I think paté will be a regular thing in my fridge from now on; I'm hooked. It is a great spreadable protein alternative for people who can't tolerate beans or have nut or seed allergies! I took some paté to work to share with my foodie coworkers, and everyone who tried it agreed it was spine-tinglingly good. Enjoy!
Tuscan Chicken Liver Paté
yield: approx 2 1/2 cups paté
This paté is rich, flavorful and aromatic, and is sure to please even someone suspicious of liver! Serve as an appetizer or eat as a light main course with breads, crackers, or vegetables. The vitamin C crystals replace some of the acidity lost by not including wine, as the original recipe calls for. If you don't have vitamin C crystals, feel free to make without, or add a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Make sure to get organic chicken livers; non-organic chicken livers may have highly concentrated amounts of chemical residues.
1 pound organic chicken livers
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp ghee (or butter)
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, smashed
3 anchovy filets (or 1 Tbsp anchovy paste)
1 Tbsp salt-packed capers, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
4-6 sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and minced (about 1 1/2 tsp)
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed (about 1 tsp)
2/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth (or 2/3 cup water mixed with 2 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon!)
1/8 tsp vitamin C crystals (or a squeeze of lemon juice)
Trim any sinews from the livers and dry well with paper towels.
In a large skillet, melt the ghee and olive oil over medium-high heat. Sautee the shallots, garlic, anchovy, capers, sage, rosemary, and thyme until shallots are lightly browned, 6 minutes or so.
Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook over high heat until browned, then add half of the broth and keep stirring with a wooden spoon, breaking up the livers as they start to cook through. When the broth is absorbed, add the second 1/3 cup and repeat the process.
Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Process until quite smooth, then add vitamin C crystals and any additional sea salt and pepper as desired to flavor. Serve warm or at room temperature. Spread on breads, crackers, collard wraps, or vegetables. Would be delicious scooped up in Belgian Endive spears!
Paté, Cucumber & Radish Sliders
These are perfect for little appetizers for parties and potlucks, and make quick healthy and nutritious snacks.
Tuscan chicken liver paté
Thinly slice the cucumber and radishes with a mandoline or v-slicer, or with a very sharp knife. Spread a layer of paté on a cucumber, top with a radish, and put a little blob of mustard on top. If desired, place a caper on top of the mustard blob. Then eat up!