There’s something very comforting about homemade pâté with some buttered toast, or crackers and it makes for an ideal make-ahead appetizer, snack, or gift for Christmas and New Year entertaining!
Buttery, silky-smooth pâté, is something you may associate with fancy restaurants, or trendy hipster bars. Or maybe you feel like pâté is something from the past that has totally gone out of style. Whatever you may think of it, you probably didn’t think of making it at home, am I right? Well, you should! You will be surprised by how incredibly easy and inexpensive it is to make at home. And just imagine your friends’ and family’s surprise when you serve up your own homemade chicken liver pâté topped with a shiny, crimson cranberry jam in these cute little jars – who wouldn’t want this as a Christmas gift?!
Do you know what’s even better? You don’t have to worry about getting this pâté done on the big day itself; it can be made some days ahead and it easily keeps up to 4 – 5 days when chilled and quickly stored in an airtight container. On the day, take out the pâté from the fridge at least 15 minutes before you plan on serving it to get rid of the chill and give it back its creamy consistency. Serve the pâté with some hot toasted bread and butter (the best option in my opinion), some slices of crusty baguette, or some crackers.
This recipe serves six as an appetizer, or will be enough for three fully topped-up little jars as a gift. The hinged-lid jars I’ve used here can contain 13cl (they have a 7cm diameter), which is a perfect gift-size, but a bit too much for an appetizer. If you have similar sized jars, consider filling them up half-way when served as an appetizer, or just consider having a large slice of pate shared by the table and have people pick at it at their leisure.
Go ahead and make this pâté now! I doubt you will ever want to get back to store-bought!
Tip: Having trouble with getting your cranberry jam to set, or need to cut down on cooking time? Don’t worry! You can use a bit of gelatin (about half a sheet, I suppose) to make the cranberry jam firmer. If You do have some time to spare, I suggest you cook the mixture just a bit longer without adding gelatin, it should definitely get thick enough at some point and the softer easily-spreadable consistency of jam without gelatin is really great. You just need some extra minutes to boil the cranberries and lemon peel long enough for them to release enough of their natural pectin (the stuff necessary to make the sauce gel up when cooling down).
Chicken Liver Pâté with Cranberry Jam
- For the pâté:
- 500g chicken liver, cleaned and sinews removed
- 40g butter
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
- 3 tablespoons cognac
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 100ml cream
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- For the cranberry jam:
- 100g fresh, or frozen cranberries
- 90ml water
- 80g sugar
- Lemon zest (of 1 lemon)
- Crackers, or toasted bread and butter for serving (optional)
Method*Note that the indicated cooking time does not include the 1 hour setting time in the fridge.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot, chopped garlic clove and fresh thyme leaves to the pan. Sauté for some minutes until the onion starts to soften.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the cleaned chicken livers to the pan. Fry the livers for about 7 minutes until they are fully cooked, but not overcooked. Halfway through frying the livers, add the cognac to the pan to give the alcohol enough time to evaporate. The inside of the livers may still be slightly pink, but should not be bloody and raw – cut some livers in half to check if they are cooked.
- When the livers are cooked tip all the contents of the frying pan into a food processor. Add the cream, a generous amount of salt, pepper and nutmeg and whizz the mixture until smooth. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Add the pâté into a serving dish, mold, or some little jars. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, make your cranberry jam by adding your fresh, or frozen cranberries, 90ml of water, 80g sugar and the zest of one lemon to a small saucepan on low heat. Bring the mixture to a soft boil and let it simmer very softly for about 15 - 20 minutes while stirring frequently to avoid burning the mixture. You can test if enough pectin has been released from the fruit by dipping a chilled spoon into the jam, or by letting a few drops of the mixture cool down completely on a plate; if it sets into a gel-like consistency when its cooled off, its ready. Take the saucepan off the heat to let the jam cool down slightly, but not totally (if it gets too cold it’s more difficult to pour onto the pâté).
- Pour, or scoop the cranberry jam on top of your chilled pâté in a thin layer and return to the fridge to set for about an hour.
- Take the pâté out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving. Serve the pâté with some buttered toast, or crackers.