Chicken liver mousse is a classic of the French kitchen that has been adopted across the world. Why? Because it is quick to make and utterly delicious to eat. For a pre-dinner snack or as canapés at the grandest party, this simple pâté can excel in any situation.
The clue to the lightness and creaminess of this pâté is in the name. This is a mousse, not a coarse pâté made from meat and offal, notr is it a terrine which endures long, slow cooking for a wholesome, chunky pâté (again using both meat and sometimes offal and nearly always wrapped in bacon or Pancetta to prevent it becoming dry).
It takes moments to assemble, then some time for chilling, but none of it takes much effort and you are rewarded with a delicious, light, creamy mousse, perfect for spreading on warm toast, your favorite crackers, or onto a sliver of sourdough.
- 12 ounces chicken livers (fresh or frozen)
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 7 ounces butter (diced)
- 1 shallot (minced)
- 1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
- 1/4 teaspoon mace
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Gather the ingredients. If you are using frozen chicken livers, defrost before using.
Clean the livers by soaking the livers in the milk for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper and remove any connective tissue with a sharp knife, then chop into 1/2-inch chunks.
Heat 1 ounce of the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until the butter has melted and is foaming. Add the minced shallots and cook until they are softened and translucent. Turn the heat up and add the chopped livers. Cook for 3 minutes, turning with a spatula; do not worry of the centers are a little pink, that’s fine.
Put the livers to one side to cool slightly. As they are cooling, reheat the pan they were cooked into hot, add the sherry or wine. Stir furiously to scrape up any bits of liver on the pan (also know as deglaze) and let this bubble until reduced to a bare tablespoon and add to the livers. Tip everything to a food processor.
Add the thyme, salt, black pepper, mace and ginger and blitz to combine. Add the cream, 3 ounces of the butte, and blitz until super-smooth.
Using a fine sieve, push the liver mousse through the remove any lumps or remaining bits of connective tissue into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon whip the mousse once again and now it will be light and airy and exceedingly smooth.
Decant the mousse into either a serving dish or individual jars. Try to avoid any holes, so gently push the mousse into the dish using the back of a spoon. Put into the refrigerator for an hour to set. Individual jars will only need 30 minutes. While the mousse is setting, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat then leave to cool.
Once cooled, pour a layer of butter over the mousse, return to the refrigerator. Serve with toast or thinly sliced bread, or on crackers.
- Once set, the mousse is ready to eat or will keep for up to five days in the fridge.