Grandma’s Chicken Liver Pate

Successful pate making deserves a kiss, don’t you think?

WARNING. This recipe comes with a warning and it is not to be taken lightly.

If you make this recipe you will from that day forward be condemning yourself to repeated requests from friends and family members to make it.

Furthermore, you will waste a bucket of cash buying and trying store bought pates and throwing them out after the first taste because they will be horrid and unstomachable compared to the one you make. This is not a joke. I’m being serious.

This is the most requested meal in my mother’s substantial arsenal of recipes. When she goes to my sister’s place up near Cairns, she has to make it. Not just for my sister, but for the tenants at the caravan park as well.

The recipe below makes a lot of pate, which is good. You’ll want a lot. You can halve the ingredients if you like but you’ll probably live to regret that decision.

We freeze the little ramekin pots and pull them out as needed, ie daily. We spread the pate on toast for breakfast, use it in lasagna, beef wellington and spaghetti, and sometimes just hoe in with a spoon.

I can’t tell you how long it lasts in the freezer because the longest we’ve managed to leave one in there was three months – it was hidden behind a leg of lamb and when found was greeted with the same sort of elation Pippa’s butt received when she arrived at her sister’s wedding.

You have been warned. Proceed at your own risk. 

You will need: 

1kg chicken livers

500g butter ( half for pate mix, half for covering pate in pots)

2 large onions

1 teaspoon thyme

1 bayleaf

12 rashers bacon

6 tablespoons port

6 tablespoons dry sherry

2 tablespoons brandy

Masterchef Master7

salt, pepper

1 cup cream

250g mushrooms

Step One. Soak the livers in salted water for an hour.

Step Two. While livers are soaking, finely cut the onions, bacon and mushrooms.

Step Three. Clean the livers (roughly removing any ‘yucky’ bits and keeping the soft stuff)

Step Four. Melt butter in a large pan, add onions, bacon, thyme and bayleaf. Saute slowly until tender only, not brown.

Step Five. Add livers and cook for a further 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step Six. Remove bayleaf. Pour the mixture into a blender and give it a few pulses. Depending on your blender you may need to do this in two lots, which is fine, but just remember to divide up the alcohol/mushroom reduction you’re cooking in step seven between the two lots of mixture (step eight). 

Step Seven. In pan, add port, sherry, brandy, cream, mushrooms and generous pinch salt and pepper. Bring to boil while stirring then simmer until reduced by half.

Step Eight. Pour sauce into blender with liver mix and give it a few pulses until smooth.

Step Nine. Some people like to push the mixture through a sieve before dividing up amongst some ramekins, but we like our pate rustic. We filled about fifteen ramekins of varying sizes with the mixture today, even after a goodly amount ended up in our stomachs. Don’t fill all the way to the top edge and give each ramekin a tap on the bench to help the pate settle smoothly.

Step Ten. When the mixture is cool (you can refrigerate for a bit or just wait until it approaches room temperature) melt the remaining 250g of butter in a pan and then pour over the top of the pate in each ramekin then refrigerate to set.

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    • You won’t regret it. It’s relatively inexpensive to make too. I think I spent about $20 (although I had the alcohols, so I only needed to purchase the livers, mushrooms, onions, bacon and cream). We’re already through 5 ramekins. The kids have eaten it on toast for dinner last night and lunch today.

  • I understand this dilemma, my mother made a pâté and since she passed I am the only one with the recipe, however I only make it at Christmas.

  • I wish recipe was in “American” English. I’ve no idea what “bacon rashers” are and don’t own a single measuring instrument which indicates grams or kilograms (nor is anything measured as such at market). Liver is one of those things that, if not done properly, will stink up whole house for weeks. I wish the recipe were easy to transcribe.

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