It's been a bit too long since my last post, but I've got a pretty exciting excuse: Alex and I recently launched a boutique catering business, Wild Plum Events & Eats, and we've been awesomely, exhaustingly busy this past month! From holiday soirees to classes to dinner parties, we cooked up a storm.
One of the stand-out dishes that we whipped up was a chicken liver pâté based on Chef Jim Drohman's Gateau de Foie de Volaille, or smooth chicken liver terrine, from Seattle's dreamy French bistro, Le Pichet. Here's a photo I snapped of Le Pichet's pâté last summer in between big bites and elated sighs.
Though I've used this chicken liver pâté recipe in the past with great success, I knew I had to find out what made Le Pichet's pâté so magical and recreate it. After I made a pleading call to the restaurant to get my hands on the recipe, I was informed that it's already printed online! Score!
This recipe isn't for the faint of stomach—the bloody red livers are blitzed raw in a food processor and combined with viscous raw eggs and heavy cream. The end result looks like a scene from Dexter and had me wincing from start to finish. But, man, was it worth it. This baby got rave reviews from everyone who tried it and made more than enough for six hearty charcuterie plates.
Here's the Le Pichet recipe, with a few modifications based on what we had on-hand:
-1lb chicken livers (I found them frozen at Fred Meyer on Orchard, but other places likely carry them, as well)
-2 1/2 cups Organic heavy cream
-4 large Organic eggs
-1 cup dry sherry
-1/2 cup Belle de Brillet Pear liqueur
-1 bay leaf
-1 teaspoon black peppercorns
-1 large piece orange peel
-1 teaspoon sugar
-2 tablespoons kosher salt (don't skimp on this, it might seem like a lot of salt, but it's necessary)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put the dry sherry, pear liqueur, peppercorns, bay leaf and orange peel in a small saucepan and reduce over high heat until about 1/4 cup of liquid remains. Strain and cool.
While the liquor mixture is reducing, put the livers into the food processor and process until smooth. Press the liver purée though a fine-mesh sieve using a rubber spatula and let it collect in a large mixing bowl. This will take longer than you think and make an icky mess, but don't skip this step! It's one of the reasons the pâté is so creamy. Put the eggs and heavy cream into the unwashed food processor bowl and pulse until mixed. Mix this into the liver purée with the salt, sugar and cooled booze reduction.
Line a 9-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and fill it with the liver mixture. Place the loaf pan in a half-size hotel pan and gingerly fill the hotel pan with warm water until it's just under the brim of the loaf pan. Don't worry: the plastic wrap won't melt in the oven since it's in a water bath. Carefully place the whole thing into the oven and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the center is set and doesn't jiggle when you nudge it. The recipe says it should only take 30 minutes, but in our kitchen it took at least double, perhaps triple that amount of time.
Once the pâté is done cooking, let it cool completely. Turn the whole thing over onto a serving plate and unmold it. Use a hot knife to slice a 1- to 2-inch piece off the loaf. It should have a lovely pink hue in the center. Serve with bread, sliced pickles, fermented mustard seeds, pickled shallots, etc.
The chicken liver pâté is on the left hand side. Alex also made the almond-studded pork terrine in the middle, which was equally amazing. But that recipe will have to wait for another day.