Brandy Chicken Liver Pate

by Emily Kemme

I’ve only recently fallen in love with liver, but when I eat it, it has to be paté. There is good reason why chicken liver paté can be found on many high-end restaurant menus. Creamy and rich, this spreadable edible is the perfect snack food to give an energy boost at cocktail hour, helping you make the evening that lies ahead enjoyable. Acknowledged to be one of the top superfoods, liver is so plentiful in iron, vitamin B-12, and others, it’s been called nature’s multivitamin.

But the biggest reason I love chicken liver paté is it’s scrumptious! I know, the term is a bit old-fashioned, bringing to mind characters like Mary Poppins, and one of the silliest-named movie heroines ever, Truly Scrumptious from the classic, Chitty Bang Bang. Even so, this recipe, laced with brandy, will change your mind, in case you’ve ever hesitated. Whip up a batch. Topped with clarified butter as a preservative, pop the ramekins in the freezer and pull one out whenever guests show up on your doorstep for cocktails. They’ll be impressed, energized, and satisfied.

Brandy Chicken Liver Paté Recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup finely minced sweet onion

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems

1 tsp fresh marjoram, minced

1 tsp fresh sage leaves, minced, plus extra leaves for garnish

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp ground allspice

1-20 ounce package Perdue chicken livers, or other hormone-free, veggie fed chicken livers, removed from package with slotted spoon and drained

2 T brandy

What you’ll need for serving: a 2 1/2 cup crock, or about five individual glass ramekins. If planning to freeze, glass jars with lids are the perfect solution.

Brandy Chicken Liver Pate

Melt one stick butter in large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add livers, herbs, salt, pepper, and allspice, stirring to coat. Cook livers until exteriors are lightly browned but interiors are still pink, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in brandy. Let mixture cool and then purée in blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer paté to crock or individual ramekins. Smooth top and arrange sage leaf on top of paté.

Melt remaining stick of butter in small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and let stand about 3 minutes. Using a spoon, gently skim froth and solids off top of butter, taking care not to stir contents of saucepan. Spoon clarified butter onto paté, leaving white residue in pan.

Brandy Chicken Liver Pate

Clarify butter by skimming off the milk foam that collects on the top of melted butter. Try not to disturb pan contents too much because it takes some time for them to settle.

Chill ramekins until butter is firm, about one hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill an additional two hours before serving. If freezing paté, close glass ramekin lids and place in freezer. Will keep up to three months. Defrost in refrigerator before serving. Paté will keep chilled in refrigerator for two weeks if butter top remains unbroken; if broken, consume within one week.

Brandy Chicken Liver Pate

Creamy and rich, a pate is the centerpiece of your appetizer lineup. It’s amazingly easy to whip up, too!

Chateau Guiraud SauternesWhat to serve with paté? Stephanie Davis, a wine educator with Winacea, believes a tantalizing appetizer like this one deserves the company of a decadent and scrumptious sweet, white wine like a Sauternes. France’s signature sweet style whites are more versatile with food than you’d think. Sauternes are wonderful as an aperitif before a meal, but can also be served during the meal or at the end. Rich, creamy appetizers stand up to the intense honey and complex fruit flavors of the wine. Prepare to be extremely delighted!

Stephanie recommends Chateau Guiraud Sauternes ($30-$40 for a half-bottle, depending on the vintage).

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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, because living brings its own humor, angst and heroism. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou where she hopes you’ll find illumination of the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Vodka and recipes optional.



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