Sunday, 29 March 2015

Chicken liver pate

Chicken livers are polarising. Like oysters and Kim Kardashian, you either love or hate. There is no middle ground. No shoulder shrug and a mumbled "whatever". No "take it or leave it". I love them, most especially because they make pate.

As a 15 year old in the early 1980s, I had a Saturday morning job at Woolies. My dad would come a few minutes earlier to pick me up so that he could go to this deli in the shopping centre and buy a wedge of their chicken liver pate. Home we'd go and he would cook mounds of toast and the whole family would slather on butter and this pate and that would be lunch.

I also blame my dad for my love of oysters but I've already written about that in this blog. Then again, I blame my dad for my love of wine and men in the military. Not such a bad thing!

I buy my chicken livers at Coles, about $5 for packet. Worryingly you will find them next to the dog food in the meat section. Please do not be put off by that.


4 tablespoons butter (not that softened stuff, the proper stuff, in alfoil)
3 rashers rindless bacon, chopped roughly
350g chicken livers, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons brandy (or make it 4 if you're game)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (must be fresh, trust me on this)
salt and freshly ground pepper
juice of ½ lemon
Topping: melted butter, few pinches of thyme leaves


Heat butter in a frypan and fry bacon until it starts to crisp.

Add chicken livers to pan and cook over high heat until livers are browned but still pink in the middle, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic at the last minute.

Transfer to a blender and add all remaining ingredients. Blend until very smooth. I like to put it into individual ramekins or small bowls, just looks cuter. You can chuck the whole lot into a big bowl if you prefer.

Melt the extra butter,  throw in the thyme leaves then very slowly (over the back of a spoon if you want) pour over the pate. You want just enough to cover it.

Stick them in the fridge for about 4 hours. Serve with pita bread crisps (too easy to make - just buy supermarket pita break, rip it up into cracker-size pieces, throw on a baking tray and pop in a hot oven for 5 minutes or so) or regular crackers. Make it part of a cheese platter with pistachio nuts, muscatels and fresh strawberries.

Or do what I do - cook toast, liberally spread with butter then top with the pate. YUM!

Pate will keep in the fridge for five days, just pop a bit of Glad Wrap over it.