Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fine Liver Pâté

Out of the freezer for a photo op.

Well, this is the only picture I have at the moment, so it's not much of a seller, but I can assure you that this pâté will make you the belle of the ball. Maybe for ten minutes. To the one person who is eating it all. But that's okay. I'll take any recognition I can get. But seriously, can you puree something? Well then you can make some excellent pâté. The real question is: can you puree pork liver? Because, you know, some people think they can't. But you can!

I'll be honest, the blubbery mass that is the pig's liver is a bit slippery and a tad smelly, in a fresh liver kind of way. When I received my half of a pig, I had asked for all the organs and I received a huge liver. I think it was more than one liver. So, with two pounds of liver on my hands I made the easiest thing I could find, which was this recipe from The New York Times Cookbook, the original from 1961, edited by Craig Claiborne.

Because no one can eat that much pâté, I wondered and searched for a tip on freezing. And I found it from none other than Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (the tip is the very last sentence of the article!). The trick to freezing pâté is to freeze it before you cook it! Et voila. I did this, and that's why I have one pan waiting for the holidays. The other was unveiled at a friend's birthday party, surrounded by slices of pickled pears, and I can attest, as well as one other party attendee, that it was superb.

Fine Liver Pâté
Adapted from The NYT Cook Book

2 pounds of pork liver, cubed
3 eggs
1/3 cup of pear brandy (or cognac)
1 cup of heavy cream
2/3 cup fresh pork fat
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour
5 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper (I like it coarsely ground, with some sprinkled on top for appearances)

Use some rendered fat to grease two bread pans well. I used ceramic loaf pans. Purée the liver, eggs, brandy and cream. Add the flour, onion and fat a little at a time. It will be quite a lot of pinkish liquid meat. Pour into a bowl and add the seasonings, mix well. Pour into your pan and cover with plastic wrap, so that the wrap clings to the purée. Then cover well with aluminum. Freeze on a level shelf.

When you want to cook it, pull it a good day before you want to cook it. Put it in the fridge and let it thaw slowly. Once fully defrosted pull off the aluminum so you can remove the plastic wrap. Put the aluminum foil back on. Bake in a pan of water in a 325 degree oven for about two hours. There's no toothpick method here, you just have to know what your looking for. I pulled mine when the edges were pulling from the sides and getting dark. Serve on a platter with pickled pears.

This post is for the ninth installment of Charcutepalooza!

Love my CorningWare!


  1. Julia,
    You may have convinced me, but I'm not ready to fully commit yet. We also have a half a pig in the freezer, complete with organs. Though I was raised by my liver-lovin' father, I admit to being a bit timid with the organs. I made a terrine a few months back that was lightly flavored with liver. The image of the dark meat passing through the grinder was a bit much. Perhaps I'll try once more with your pate recipe. Now, what to do with the heart?

  2. I am so glad for this post and your research! I have made pate once, and we really liked it but ... you can only eat so much. So even though I'd like to make it again...Problem solved, yay! Thanks to you, and Hugh. (Still annoyed I never made it out for a class with him while in London). That corningware, that's what we grew up with, little blue flower and all! ;-)

    End of long rambly comment.

  3. I love your corningware too =) Feels like home, growing up. Go you on keeping up w/ charcutepalooza. A friend made pate the other day and it rocked. I bet this was great, especially with pickled pears!

  4. OMG! I used to have that N.Y.Times cookbook many moons ago. It was a good one but with multiple moves it went by the wayside. Love pate beyond poultry livers too.

  5. FINALLY a way to save some. I had to get rid of half my pate last time because I just CAN'T eat that much fat in one week. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  6. Karen - I totally understand. What to do with the heart, indeed. I'm not quite sure. Let me know when you find out! I'm still mulling it over...

    Sara - There is nothing better than a long rambly comment! Thank you! I am so glad that there are a few people who are as excited as me for little bits of information like that.

    Meg - I've got to read some more pate posts. Was it Briggsy?

    Two By the Sea - It's a great book!

    Robin - You are welcome!