The first time I made chicken liver paté, I was quite nervous. A food friend encouraged me by sharing their recipe, and I was amazed at the ease and tastiness of the result, not to mention how inexpensive it was. Since that time, I developed my own version, a chicken liver and port paté that I make fairly often.
But for some time, I’ve been thinking about a non-alcoholic version that wouldn’t pale in comparison with its boozy sibling.
When Russell Hobbs set the theme for week 3’s cookery challenge as "Blended Fruitiness", my personal paté challenge popped into mind. Although I regularly use a blender to make smoothies, shakes and soups I use it most often to make chicken liver paté.
Incorporating fruit would surely give me a way to add an extra flavour dimension to take the place of the port? I ruled fresh fruit out straight away – it struck me that the concentrated sweet flavours of dried fruits would work much better here.
To my surprise, I could find no existing recipes for such a paté, whether I searched on dates or prunes, raisins or figs, cranberries or apricots.
I decided to experiment, and the result is as delicious as I could have hoped for!
This is a soft, spreadable paté; not the terrine kind you can cut into slices and lift out of the dish. For that reason, I recommend that you make it in a large, shallow dish for an informal dinner, encouraging everyone to dive in and spoon a dollop onto their plates, or in individual ramekins for a more formal presentation.
Kavey's Chicken Liver & Apricot Paté
400 grams chicken livers, cleaned, each liver cut into 2-3 pieces
150 grams butter
1 medium to large onion, diced or sliced
Thyme, fresh or dried, to taste
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped or crushed
Salt & pepper, to taste
150 grams soft dried apricots
Clarified butter to cover
- Melt half the butter into a large pan and gently fry the onions for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic. Keep the heat low and stir regularly, to avoid colouring.
- Once the onions are soft, transfer into the blender and set aside.
- In the other half of the butter, fry the livers and thyme over reasonably high heat for about 3 minute until the livers have stiffened and browned. They should be pale pink inside but no dark (raw) pink should remain.
Transfer the livers and butter into the blender with the onions.
- Blend until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper, and 100 grams of whole dried apricots and blend again until smooth.
- Taste to check seasoning, add more if required.
- Chop the remaining 50 grams of dried apricots finely and stir into the blended pate, making sure they are evenly distributed.
- Transfer the paté into individual ramekins or a single larger dish.
- Leave to cool, transferring to the fridge once the initial heat has dissipated.
- Optional: Clarify some butter (melt and remove impurities) before pouring or spooning very gently over the surface of the paté, to a depth of 2-3 mm. Return to fridge for butter to set solid.
- Serve cold, with toasted bread or brioche and a sweet jam or chutney.
- This paté benefits from being left overnight in the fridge before serving.
- If the surface is covered in butter, it will last a few days in the fridge.
- It freezes very well, just allow it to defrost for several hours in the fridge before serving.