Pate lovers, there isn’t really a need to buy those slabs of pates from the supermarket refrigerator shelves. If you have a food processor, you can make your own. It will be as pure as the ingredients you add since it will be completely additive free! What makes my pate different? I use something better than cream or butter! Then, I stud my pate with a few dried cranberries and pistachios. The tart sweetness and nutty crunch offsets the rich buttery pate.

To serve, I lay out more dried cranberries and pistachios for diners to help themselves. The idea is, after you spread the pate on your base of choice -crackers, toast, bread, etc., you top with one dried cranberry and a pistachio. I have since discovered that a little of some very good quality marmalade or orange preserves drizzled just before popping into mouth, makes for one blissful mouthful of flavours.

I use a Mandarin Preserve With Whiskey (refer to feature image above), that I picked up last year (2015) from Athens (the brand- Mylelia Water Mill is from the Greek island of Lesvos). It is the very best mandarin/orange preserve I have tasted. Whole slices of mandarin with a hint of whiskey, the right sweetness and the right syrupy consistency. Their products are seasonal and I doubt I will ever get a chance to land another bottle of it. For a look at the food items I lugged back from that Athens trip (I am a great luggage packer), click, Tzatziki & Shopping & Eating At Athens Central Market.

Duck Liver Pate Made From Something Better Than Cream

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Inactive: Overnight refrigeration 2X
Level: Moderate
Makes: ~ 1 cup worth
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes, but you do know this is super rich.
Make ahead? Yes, keeps 2 weeks refrigerated and possibly longer.

Ingredients

~5 – 6 duck livers (replace with 6 -7 chicken livers)
~enough milk to soak duck livers in
~1/4 cup sliced purple onions
~3 cloves garlic
~2 Tablespoons neutral tasting oil
~1 – 2 Tablespoon brandy
~3.2oz(90g) mascarpone
~3.2oz(90g) unsalted butter
~3oz(85g) unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses (replace with a similar tasting jam/syrup- lingonberry, cherry, cranberry)
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: dried cranberries and pistachios

Method

Clean and soak duck livers in milk overnight
1. Clean the duck livers, trimming off any visible fat and sinews. Rinse clean and pat dry.
2. Place them in a container with a lid. Cover the livers with enough milk to completely cover. Put lid on. Pop into refrigerator and leave it there overnight and up to 2 days. I have been taught that this turns the livers a lighter shade, rids it of some of its ‘gaminess’ and gives the liver a more luscious flavour. All true.

Frying
1. When ready to make pate, pat livers dry. No need to rinse. Set aside.
2. Onions have to be sliced. Garlic diced.
3. Have the 1 – 2 Tablespoons of brandy ready.
4. In a frying pan, heat up the neutral tasting oil (for example, safflower oil. No extra virgin olive oil or olive oil) over medium high heat and saute the slice onions until they are half way soften.
5. Add the garlic in with the onions and continue to saute until onions are soften. Remove from pan.
6. Increase heat to high. Add the livers. Saute ~3-5 minutes on first side. Flip over and saute ~2-4 minutes. It is always better to undercook than overcook. Once overcooked there is nothing you can do. The livers will be hard, bitter and grainy. Eeks. If they are undercook, you can always return it to then pan.
7. The liver is cooked when the centre is just very slightly pink (not red, not raw).
8. Splash the brandy into the pan. If you are cooking with an open flame, it might catch fire briefly because of the alcohol. In which case, remove the pan from the burner or cover pan with a lid. Let the brandy sizzle away for 1 minute then turn off and remove from the burner. Cool.

Making clarified butter

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Cooled clarified butter was poured over the pate to seal.

1. Clarified butter is butter with its milk solids removed. The end result will be a clear, pretty gold-coloured, liquid butter.
2. Over low heat, melt the ~3oz(85g) unsalted butter in a small pot, until you see foam on the surface and milk solids at the bottom.
3. When the butter has gone ‘quiet’ and you see distinct layers of milk solids (at the bottom), clear yellow liquid butter (in the middle) and foam (on the top), turn off the burner and remove pan.
4. Skim off the foam.
5. Carefully pour only the clear yellow butter into a little jug (for easy pouring later), leaving milk solids behind. Alternatively, to be more meticulous, line a strainer with some muslin or some disposable draining paper (so convenient!) and strain off the foam and milk solids.
6. I use up the milk solids/foam in my omelette/bread recipes or feed it to my dog who laps it up.

Putting the pate together
1. In a food processor, add the items from the pan. Then, add the mascarpone, ~3.2oz(90g) unsalted butter, pomegranate molasses and the salt and pepper to taste.
2. Processed until completely smooth.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning. It has to be just slightly over seasoned as the cold of the refrigerator will mute the flavours very slightly.
4. Pate can be transferred to one serving container or several. When I am not having a large party, I transfer it into 4 containers so we spread out the eating.
5. Level out the pate.
6. Stud with dried cranberries and pistachios. Then, pour the cooled clarified butter over the pate to seal.
7. Refrigerate overnight or until firm before eating.

To serve
1. Serve with your choice of crackers, bread, toast… Scroll down to ‘Tips’ for more ideas on what to spread pate over.
2. I serve more dried cranberries and pistachios to the side, and I put out a bottle of mandarin/orange/marmalade preserves that must have some syrup in it, so that diners can drizzle over the pate before they pop them into mouth.

Tips

Too often, duck liver or chicken liver pates are served on toast/bread. Vary the base. It goes just as well not only on other base like crackers or water biscuits, try lavosh and my new favourite, spread on tortilla chips! Think about it. There’s less of a carbo base and what a crunch of a bite you get too!

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

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