Chicken Liver Pâté is a luxuriously rich and deeply nourishing addition to any dinner table. Spread atop sprouted grain toast points and garnished with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and microgreens, chicken liver pâté can make a full meal in and of itself. And, for those who are wary of organ meats, chicken liver pate is an excellent entrance into these deeply nourishing foods.
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Chicken liver pâté, like roe, oysters, lobster and other foods we now consider a luxury, were born of practicality and a waste-not-want-not attitude – a way to make every bit of the harvest count. North Americans are peculiar about their foods – preferring muscle meat to other more nutrient-dense variety meats. Even my 4-year old who has a palate that rivals the most adventurous eater squirms at the thought of eating liver (I do too, by the way), saying that he’s not a “Body meat kinda guy, just a muscle meat kinda guy.” It’s an intellectual aversion, rather than one of taste, so we simply refer to this chicken liver pâté as pâté de foie de volailles. A little pretentious, perhaps, but he gobbles it up not having learned the translation quite yet.
Organ meats, like the chicken livers in this pâté, are exceptionally rich in micronutrients and have been enjoyed cross-globally since the dawn of man. Liver is a nutritional powerhouse thanks to its high content of B vitamins and preformed vitamin A.
In conventional media, we hear a lot about folate and its importance for women in their child-bearing years as lack of folate contributes to significant birth defects. While many people recognize leafy greens as a good source of folate, liver beats them every time packing more than twice the amount of folate as spinach on an ounce-per-ounce basis. Moreover, liver contains retinol or preformed vitamin A which is also essential to reproductive health and the health of the developing baby. Indeed, poor maternal vitamin A intake is implicated in cleft palate as well as other congenital malformations.
I can’t underscore this point enough: Liver is an important food – a sacred food – and is worth learning to like. Like many foods that can seem initially off-putting like wheat grass and fish roe, for example, and you may need to try it more than once to acquire a taste for it. Fortunately, this chicken liver pâté is quite mild and has a pleasing flavor and texture, and it presents an excellent opportunity to learn to love a new, nourishing food. Remember: just one appetizer-sized portion of sage and chicken liver pâté provides approximately 41% of the RDA for folate, 79% of the RDA for vitamin B12 and 88% of the RDA for vitamin A.
sage and chicken liver pâté
- 1 lb chicken livers
- 1 quart whole milk (recommended, but optional)
- 14 oz butter
- 2 large shallots (Finely Chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Rubbed Sage
- ½ cup Sherry
- Fresh Sage Leaves (to garnish)
- Rinse chicken livers gently, drain them and set them in a bowl.
- Pour 1 quart fresh milk over the chicken livers and allow them to marinate in the milk for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
- Drain the chicken livers and rinse them again.
- Heat 4 oz ghee in a skillet until melted.
- Add the sliced shallots and brown.
- Add the chicken livers to the onions and ghee. Note that they will release a significant amount of liquid.
- Simmer chicken livers until browned through and until the liquid has largely cooked away. Note that at this point many of the chicken livers will be falling apart on their own – a very good thing.
- Add the rubbed sage and deglaze the pan with sherry.
- Continue to cook until sherry is largely cooked away.
- Allow the mixture to cool.
- Add mixture and 8 oz of softened butter or ghee to your food processor and process until smooth.
- Melt remaining 2 oz of ghee until liquid.
- Spoon pâté into individual ramekins or dishes, garnish with fresh sage leaves and pour melted ghee gently over the pâté.
- Allow the sage and chicken liver pâté to set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, but bring to room temperature prior to serving.