When I met Pâté, it was love at first bite.
I remember it clear as the day my daughter was born except I don’t have a daughter. You get the pâté point. It. Was. Magical.
Toothsome, creamy, meaty, buttery, what the hek kinda enchanted toast is this and HOW is it THIS flavorful! If it was Elizabethan England I would’ve fainted from delight and needed my corset loosened and smelling salts stat.
Instead I got obsessed with that pâté stuff and went on a recreation rampage. For years. Any time I catered, any party I threw, a new recipe had to be tried, combined, tweaked. I was looking for a super smooth, extra luscious pâté that melted in your mouth and would convert even the most critical liver hater.
And so here we are,
Unctuous with a hefty butter to liver ratio, seasoned with fresh thyme, spiced with ginger and chili, sweetened with maple syrup and bourbon. It’s rich and ready to be the star of your next charcuterie board. To be slathered on all the bread and subsequently shoveled into your face.
the best pâté in all the land
- 3 sticks salted butter at room temp. If using unsalted butter then add 1/2 tsp kosher salt along with the spices and more as needed.
- 1/2 pound chicken or duck livers trimmed and patted dry. fresh if you can get them(!)
- 1 shallot minced
- 3 sprigs thyme leaves plucked, more for topping
- 1 tsp five spice
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- pinch chili flakes
- 1.5 TB maple syrup
- 1 TB bourbon
- sea salt maldon preferred, for topping
- 1 stick butter for clarifying and capping, optional
Favorite Condiments and Toppings:
- fresh herbs
- good quality chili flakes and or za’atar
- sea salt and fresh pepper
- ` cornichons
- crisp sliced radishes
- sliced scallions
- sliced tiny pearl onions
- crushed peanuts
- whole grain mustard
- assorted crackers and toasts for serving
In a large heavy skillet, big enough for the livers to spread out, melt one stick of butter over medium heat.
Add the shallots and sauté til they get nutty and lightly brown, 5 minutes. Jack the heat up to medium-high and slide in the livers.
Season immediately with the thyme, ginger, five-spice, and chili flakes to taste. (Add salt now if using unsalted butter.)
Leave the livers be for a moment! They gotta get their sear on. Turn after about 2-3 minutes and brown the other side.
If you want to check for doneness, which I recommend, just squiggle a soft or hard spatuala through the center of one. The middle should be quite pink but not blood red.
Just please for the love of holy liver do not overcook! When they are brown all the way through the pâté will be mealy and muddy. gross. don’t be gross.
Transfer the livers to the food processor, leaving the brown bits in the pan.
Now add the bourbon and maple syrup, scraping up all the lil nuggets and let bubble a minute or so, cooking off the spirits.
Add pan contents to the food processor, and pulse ’til incorporated.
Start adding in the remaining two sticks of butter, half a hunk at a time, and blend. Scraping down the sides so everything is smooth and creamy-licious.
The pâté might be quite liquidy while warm and that’s fine — it’s just all the melted butter. Check for seasoning, adjust as needed.
Next push pâté through the sieve, which makes it extra spreadable. *BUT* sometimes I don’t bother because:
1. It’s already super buttery wif all dat butter.
2. You might lose some thyme leaves and shallot nugs which I personally really like to have.
3. Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. So it’s a nice extra step but certainly not mandatory.
So whether your pâté is sieved or not, pour evenly into your ramekins/jars.
Tap the jars lightly on the counter to settle. Top with flaky sea salt and extra thyme. Layer plastic wrap on the surface so it’s not exposed to air (it’ll prevent browning), screw on the lid if using, and refrigerate.
For capping: clarify butter by melting in a saucepan til it simmers. Dont stir! When the milk solids fall to the bottom and the top foams, take off the heat.
Skim off the foam and let stand a minute to fully settle, then spoon a layer on the cooled pâté til it’s covered by the melted butter.
– Refrigerate for at least an hour or two (if you have the patience.)
– Uncapped pâté should be eaten within five days. Capped and sealed it’ll keep for up to two weeks. *So if I’m making a batch I’ll cap two and leave one naked to use right away. Then I’ll usually gift one and enjoy the last jar a week or two later.*
– When serving bring it out of the fridge while you’re toasting your crostini so it has a few minutes to warm — it’ll make it easier to spread.