Paté pronto

Paté is one of my favourite starters. ‘She sews’ and I often order pate to share at a restaurant to start. I am surprised how easy it is to make… I must say that sometimes it works better than others, and some people might be horrified by the nonchalant way I approach the whole process. Cooking is a bit like that,… when I have plenty of time I take great care measuring, evenly dicing ingredients, cooking each ingredient separately, you know a slow lovely waltz… well this pate had nothing like that!… it was rock and roll baby… I had under half an hour from go to whoa and I chopped, fried and blended as fast as I could.

The quantity was enough to make 2 one cup ramekins plus some left over that we enjoyed whilst it was still warm.

Ingredients (serves 4)

600g chicken livers

40g butter plus a bit more you you love it!

1 medium brown onion, chopped, shallots are better but hey they are expensive!

250ml (1 cup) chicken stock

1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatine

45g (1/4 cup) drained green peppercorns ( or plain old black ones)

2 tsp finely grated orange rind

Pinch ground cinnamon

Salt & ground black pepper

2 tsp Grand Marnier


  1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Meanwhile trim any discoloured spots, fat and membrane from the livers.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add the chicken livers. Cook, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until the livers are lightly browned on the outside and slightly pink on the inside. I often add some Swiss brown mushrooms to add texture and natural MSG to the pate.
  4. When the livers are nearly done I flame them with the Grand Marnier, not sure if it really adds much in the way of flavour but hey it makes you feel like you are on “Masterchef” when the you shake the pan and see the flames!
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
  6. Place the chicken liver mixture, in the bowl of a food processor. Add the orange rind and cinnamon, and season well with salt and pepper. I pulse the food processor and stop as soon as the mixture blends together. This gives a crumbly rustic finish to the paté, if you prefer your paté smooth just process until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the mixture into three 310ml (1 1/4-cup) ramekins and smooth the surface.
  7. Meanwhile, bring the stock just to the boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the gelatine over the stock. Use a fork to whisk until the gelatine dissolves.
  8. Sprinkle the peppercorns or thin slices of orange evenly on top of the pate in the ramekins. Carefully pour the remaining stock mixture evenly over each and place in the fridge overnight to set. Once set, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Recipe by Jan Castorina Good Taste – December 1999, Page 93

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