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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quick Chicken Liver Paté with Cranberries and Pistachios


This is my version of chopped chicken livers on toast. I sauté them with onions, garlic, Port and Madeira wine, then purée the mixture into a smooth paté. Unlike other kinds of paté, this one can be eaten right away and doesn't require baking or pressing or curing.

You can customize it with any garnish you like. Sprinkling some flaky sea salt and drizzling a bit of your best quality olive oil over the top is always an easy and elegant way to serve it. Around the holidays I like to garnish it with dried cranberries and pistachios or dried tart cherries and walnuts. In the spring I top it with baby greens and/or fresh herbs like parsley. 

Get the best quality chicken livers you can find, preferably from an animal raised on pasture and not exposed to antibiotics, pesticides, or GMOs. If they haven’t already been cleaned, remove any attached ducts, vessels, or other connective tissues. Cut them in half to clean them more thoroughly and reduce the cooking time. I prefer to cook them in rendered chicken fat, but if that isn't an option, you can substitute ghee or butter.

The velvety texture of this paté pairs perfectly with something crisp like toast. I used sprouted whole grain bread, cut into triangles, but you could make a gluten-free version by substituting a gluten-free bread or cracker. You could make it grain-free by serving it with cucumber or radish rounds. Serve it as a starter or a snack. Or have it for breakfast.

  • 3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat, divided
  • 1 pound chicken livers, cleaned
  • Sea salt 
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons ruby Port wine
  • 3 tablespoons dry Madeira wine
  • Ground peppercorn
  • Dried cranberries, roughly chopped for garnish
  • Raw pistachios, roughly chopped for garnish
  • Sprouted whole grain bread, toasted, to serve 


  1. Warm 1 tablespoon of rendered chicken fat in a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Keep the other 2 tablespoons cold in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
  2. Add the chicken livers and sear until golden brown, about a minute and a half. Flip and brown the other side, about another minute. Do not overcook the livers; they should still be slightly pink inside. Remove them from the pan, sprinkle them with sea salt, and set them aside to cool.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until soft and brown. Take your time with this step to really develop the color and flavor of the onion. 
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic and ground pepper. Stir until aromatic, about a minute.
  5. Add the Port and Madeira. Increase the heat to medium. Stir to loosen up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once it starts to bubble, simmer and reduce by half, until the pan juices thicken and there is just enough left to generously coat the livers. 
  6. Return the browned chicken livers to the pan and toss to combine them with the onion mixture and sauce. Set the pan aside to cool completely.
  7. Once the chicken liver mixture has cooled to room temperature, add it to a food processor along with the remaining two tablespoons of cold rendered chicken fat. Process until completely smooth, then transfer to a ramekin, small terrine, or other serving dish. 
  8. Serve the paté right away, at room temperature, or transfer it to the fridge to chill before serving. To serve, spread the paté onto small toasts and garnish them as you wish. Or arrange the paté alongside the toasts and garnishes, and allow people to do it themselves.

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