Monday, February 11, 2008

Chicken liver pate

This is not a proper chicken liver pate. Delicious nonetheless, it is a quick concoction made out of the single liver that comes -- if you buy your free range or organic chicken at the butcher rather than at the supermarket -- in a bag inside the bird. If you spread it on toast, it will make four little snacks (or six, if you spread it thinly on croutons).

These livers are stringy. If you are making a proper pate, you get rid of the unwanted bits by shoving the cooked mixture through a sieve. Here, you scrape the liver off the stringy tissue. You reduce it to an unprepossessing mush; but that does not matter.

You do not need to flame brandy to evaporate the alcohol. I have done tests, and discovered that reducing the liquid in the normal way works just as well; indeed, it seems to work better, resulting in a milder flavour. Perhaps flamed brandy is scorched.

1 chicken liver
1 clove garlic, crushed with salt
Large knob (about 20g) butter
1 tbsp brandy
Ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper

Cut up the liver, scraping it away from the stringy bits, which you should discard.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and add the garlic. When it starts to cook and to give off its aroma, turn up the heat to medium, and add the liver. Toss it around; it will be cooked in about 10 to 15 seconds. Tip it into a small bowl. Put the pan back on to the heat, pour in the brandy, and boil it for a few seconds, until reduced to about a dstsp of syrup. Pour it on to the liver; add the peppers. You may not need any more salt.

Crush the liver with a fork, scraping at the bits that stick to the tines with a knife, and recrushing until the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with a saucer, and put it into the fridge for an hour.

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