“What am I, chopped liver?” Such a deft colloquialism. The implication at first glance being that chopped liver is forgettable, not worthy of notice, insignificant. But good chopped liver is such a wonder of culinary genius, combining the cheap, “throw-away” parts of an everyday chicken into a luxurious spread that is worthy of, and often appears on, the chi-chi-est of restaurant menus.
And therein lies the rub. Chopped liver is far too often mistakenly overlooked when in reality, it should be heralded as the star of the show, the belle of the ball.
This simple recipe, which is adapted from Tartine Bread, in which it is called “Baker’s Foie,” is totally rustic and yet, well, let’s just say, it ain’t just chopped liver. Unlike my Jewish grandmother’s chopped liver, it contains butter (though I’m sure it would work equally well with schmaltz or even rendered duck fat) and a food processor rather than a food mill for grinding. Calling it Chicken Liver Pate is a good step towards giving it its due, but I think the addition of cognac justifies calling it Pate de Foie de Poulet, just in case anyone might mistake it for just a forgettable dish of chopped liver. I like to serve it as an appetizer on Jewish holidays, especially Hanukkah, or as part of an elegant New Year’s Eve cocktail spread.
More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love
- Honey Cake
- Honey Cookies
- Lemon Coconut Macaroons
- Jewish Beef Brisket
- Meat-Filled Borekas or Pastelicos
- Passover Orange Sponge Cake
- Passover Potato, Tomato, and Olive Stew
- Kreplach with Beef Filling
- Sufganiyot or Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah
- Potato Latkes for Hanukkah
- Classic Chopped Liver
- Vegetarian Chopped Liver
- Check out all of my Jewish Recipes!
For the paté:
- 1 pound chicken livers, rinsed, trimmed of all fat and connective tissue and soaked in milk for 2-4 hours
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 small shallots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- ½ cup cognac
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the cognac butter:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cognac
- pinch of kosher salt
To make the paté:
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the livers and sear until browned on one side, about 1 minute.
- Turn the livers over, add the shallots to the pan, and continue to cook until the livers are browned on the other side, about 1 minute more.
- Add the thyme and cook, stirring, for another minute or so.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter and ¼ cup of the cognac.
- Stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor and let cool to room temperature.
- When livers are at room temperature, add the 4 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 1/4 cup of cognac and process in the food processor until smooth.
- Transfer the puree to 4 4-ounce ramekins or a terrine large enough to hold it all.
To make the cognac butter:
- Put the 3 tablespoons of butter in a bowl and microwave 30 to 45 seconds, until melted.
- Add the cognac and salt and stir to combine.
- Pour the butter in an even layer over the pate (dividing evenly if using ramekins).
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (it will keep well in the refrigerator and can be frozen, as well).
- Bring to room temperature before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 295Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 356mgSodium 212mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 16g