Tuesday, January 1, 2013

12 Days of Christmas: 6th Day, Foie Gras

The 6th and 7th days of Christmas are belated, I know.  But I had two large New Year's Eve events yesterday, one of which involved making 12 dozen cupcakes.  So I was a little busy.

But I should be getting back on track for the rest of the 12 Days.  Even though I head back tomorrow to work after being off since December 20th.  Which will be rough.

Anyway, I had planned to make a goose for the 6th Day of Christmas, what with the six geese a-laying.  But as usual, my planning is atrocious and I didn't buy said goose at Christmas-time while they were still being sold.  So I went with Alec's suggestion of making foie gras.  Ideally, I would have used goose liver.  But good luck finding that in St. Louis.  So I made chicken liver pate.

A lot of people hear the word "liver" and get a sort of automatic lip curl of disgust and doubt.  Mostly, they haven't tried it, or they've tried terrible examples of liver.  But if there's anything I've learned in my few years of being a foodie, practically anything can be made to taste good if you do it right.  And livers are something that can be done very, very right.

Alec and I love foie gras.  (And liver.)  The recipe I use comes from a book I got from the bargain bin at Borders, called Irish Food and Cooking.  It's a recipe for Duck liver pate, but finding duck liver is just about as hard as goose liver around here, so I work with what I have.  Chicken livers.  The recipe even states that "duck or chicken livers are interchangeable."  So there you have it.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six geese a-laying...

Foie Gras (Chicken Liver Pate)
(serves 4-6)
from Irish Food and Cooking, by Biddy White Lennon and Georgina Campbell

1 onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick)
8 oz. livers (chicken, duck, or goose)
2-3 tbs. chopped fresh mixed herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary)
1-2 tbs brandy
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/4-1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted

Cook the onion and garlic in 2 tbs of the butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until just turning color.

Trim the livers and add to the pan with the herbs.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the livers have browned on the outside but are still pink on the inside.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Cut the remaining butter into slices.

Process the cooled liver mixture in a food processor (I got to use my new food processor for the first time!) or blender.  

Add the butter in gradually, dropping the slices down the food chute onto the moving blades, to make a smooth puree.

Add the brandy, then check the seasonings and add salt and pepper as desired.

Note: I made a larger batch.  You will not have this much pate.

Transfer to a 1/2-1 pint ramekin or dish.  

Lay a bay leaf on top if desired, then pour the melted butter over the pate, just enough to cover.  Let cool, and then chill in the refrigerator until you want to eat it.  Enjoy with bagel chips or mini toasts.

...four colly birds...

...three French hens...

...two turtledoves...

...and a partridge in a pear tree.

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