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May 19, 2012

Silky-Smooth Chicken Liver Pâté

By Worker Bee
103 Comments

If you’ve only ever had chicken livers fried with onions or chopped up with hardboiled eggs, then it’s time to experience liver in a more decadent way. Not that Grandma’s chopped liver doesn’t hit the spot sometimes, but the smooth, whipped texture and buttery flavor of Chicken Liver Pâté is really something special.

The secret to silky, smooth pâté is twofold. First, simmering the liver in liquid instead of browning it prevents the liver from drying out while cooking. The second “secret” – and actually, this shouldn’t be a surprise, since we’re talking about French cuisine here – is butter. Lots and lots of butter. Some traditional French recipes call for so much butter that the end result is more like butter pâté with a little bit of chicken liver thrown in. Some recipes also add whole cream and many have a dash or two of Cognac or other liquor for good measure.

This recipe, which is based off one by the great French chef Jacques Pépin, uses a little bit more restraint and gives the chicken livers first billing. With less butter, the result is no less delicious. The liver flavor is slightly stronger but the texture is still perfectly smooth and creamy. If you want to add more butter, by all means, go for it. Either way, this chicken liver pâté is a perfect snack, one loaded with flavor as well as protein, vitamins and minerals. Eat it by the spoonful, or use the pâté as a dip for raw vegetables or Primal crackers.

Makes between 1/2 and 1 cup of pâté

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound chicken livers
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature). For pâté that is very dense and buttery, add between 8 to 12 tablespoons of butter

Instructions:

Rinse the chicken livers and pat them dry. Cut off any white connective tissue.

In a saucepan, combine the chicken livers, shallot, garlic, bay leaf and salt. Add the water and bring to a simmer.

Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf. Drain the liquid out and transfer the livers, shallot and garlic to a food processor. Add nutmeg. Process just until the livers are finely chopped, then, with the blade still running, start adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once the butter is blended in, season with salt and pepper then continue to process until the pâté is completely smooth.

Scoop the pâté into one large or two small ramekins or bowls. Decorate the top with fresh herbs if you like. Cover with plastic wrap pressed down onto the pâté (to protect it from air) or pour melted butter on top, creating an edible seal (when melting the butter, skim as much white foam off the top as possible).

Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight so the pâté firms up. The pâté will stay fresh up to 1 week.


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103 Comments on "Silky-Smooth Chicken Liver Pâté"

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knifegill
knifegill
4 years 4 months ago

Looks delicious!

laura m.
laura m.
4 years 3 months ago

I thought chicken liver (raw or cooked) was for cats; I never liked it.

Kathleen
Kathleen
4 years 4 months ago

I am so excited! As excited as one can get about
liver on a Saturday morning! I have been striving to include more liver in my diet, and this is very inspirational. I was just about to head out to my local co-op, and now “chicken liver” has been
added to my list! Thank you!

Decaf Debi
Decaf Debi
4 years 4 months ago

Looks like a great way to sneak some offal into my family’s diet. Both my kids and husband love veggies with various dips so I’ll add this to the rotation without telling them what it is.

yoolieboolie
yoolieboolie
4 years 4 months ago

the last liver recipe I’ll try has been revealed! lol. The bacon wrapped livers were a classic fail, with me being the only one to eat more than a teensy weensy taste. I ate three of them and then felt nauseated for the next few hours. Maybe it was just too rich. The only way I’ve been able to enjoy liver in the past is in the cornbread dressing and giblet gravy I’ve traditionally made with Thanksgiving dinner. Livers are inexpensive and beneficial enough that we’ll give this a go amd hope for better results!

primal_alex
4 years 4 months ago

I use to do homemade chicken liver paté. It’s very tasty. And now that I am primal I can fully enjoy it without bothering the fats 😀

My base recipe is a bit different. Instead of Cognac I add some Marsala, but that’s a question of preference. Also, I put some finely chopped marjoram. Never thought of the nutmeg, I’ll try to add some next time.

Btw, to the base recipe, you can add mushrooms, ideally morchels to make a “foie gras aux morilles”.

KerryK
KerryK
4 years 4 months ago

Do you sauté the mushrooms first? Or add them on raw?

primal_alex
4 years 4 months ago

I always cook mushroom apart. This is particularly true for morchels as they may be a bit toxic due to a toxin which, fortunately, is easily destroyed with prolonged cooking.

TJ the Grouch
TJ the Grouch
4 years 4 months ago

The marjoram is a must. Also try thyme, gives it a nice extra punch.

celticcavegirl
celticcavegirl
4 years 4 months ago

Ohhh, I make a version of this all the time but with duck livers, orange zest, brandy or cognac, pepper, nutmeg, mustard and cloves and a 50/50 mixture of butter and goose fat

IndigoSwash
IndigoSwash
4 years 4 months ago

Oh, that sounds so wonderful! Care to share your recipe, celticcavegirl? 🙂

celticcavegirl
celticcavegirl
4 years 4 months ago
Sure – its very similar to the above. Unfortunately I’m not big on measuring though The fat content is personal preference – I use 1 part fat to 3 of liver, but you can do a 50-50 mix for a richer pate. 360g duck liver (chicken in a pinch) 60g goat butter or ghee 60g goose fat 2 cloves garlic, crushed brandy, rum, cognac, Cointreau or other alcohol (I usually use brandy) seasoning – salt, pepper, allspice, cloves, mustard seeds, nutmeg (all fresh ground – important) the zest of 1 orange ghee for sealing 1) chop the the livers up… Read more »
Maria
4 years 24 days ago
Maria
4 years 24 days ago
Jana
Jana
4 years 4 months ago

I’ve sampled liver and onions throughout my childhood and into adulthood. I have never liked it and all our recipies were from southern family ones. Last time I tried I identified what I don’t like, other than the consistancy. Liver tastes like old socks to me.

I’m scared to try pate. I’d hate to waste perfectly good liver on something I won’t eat.

WildGrok
WildGrok
4 years 4 months ago

did you try chicken livers? they do not have the stronger test of the others

WildGrok
WildGrok
4 years 4 months ago

I mean: taste

Sianny Banany
Sianny Banany
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t like liver either but I love my Mum’s pate which is very similar to this recipe! She adds port instead of cognac and sometimes chops up some pickled gherkins and mixes that in! Mmmmmmmmm

Orielwen
4 years 4 months ago
It was probably cooked for too long. Sliced liver should be fried on one side till the juices just start to run out, and then turned over and fried for even less time. Takes about 30 seconds. It should still be rare in the middle. It’s easy to overcook it if you don’t know this, and then it become foul and rubbery. You also need to serve it with a sauce, because it tends to be quite dry: once it’s done, pop it in a low oven to keep warm and make a sauce using the pan juices and e.g.… Read more »
PaleoDentist
4 years 4 months ago

mmmm. going to give this a try!

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
4 years 4 months ago

If you want to acquire live animals you can purchase them at pet stores. Imagine the potential nutrition waiting in the tanks and cages.

Primal Toad
4 years 4 months ago

It’s been a while since I have tried liver. More than a year. This looks amazing and is simple. I’ve only had beef liver so giving chicken liver a try is needed.

Chicken livers at the farmers market costs me 99 cents per pound!

Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago

Chicken livers are much more mild than beef (or even calves’) liver, so to my palate, much easier to eat!

arkady
arkady
4 years 4 months ago

They also pale in comparison to beef liver in terms of vitamins/minerals.

Sondra Rose
4 years 4 months ago

Nice.

Personally, I prefer the Nourishing Traditions recipe with mushrooms.

You CAN freeze the paté, by the way! My husband makes up a big batch that lasts us for 6 weeks.

Leslie
Leslie
4 years 4 months ago

Could I use duck fat? Or is the butter integral to the flavour? This looks delish and eager to try!

Bevie
Bevie
4 years 4 months ago

I actually think duck fat tastes better than butter.

Jillian
Jillian
4 years 3 months ago

I substitute duck fat for butter since my body reacts to dairy. I made this recipe yesterday and it is amazing! What I really like about this recipe is no alcohol. Many chicken liver pate’s call for sherry or brandy. This recipe tastes just as good or even better. So simple and a great snack. Thanks Mark!!

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
4 years 4 months ago

I’m wondering if the flavor could be intensified by cooking the liver in chicken broth instead of water, or would that just be a waste of chicken broth? Has anyone tried that?

celticcavegirl
celticcavegirl
4 years 4 months ago

personally when I make pate I just fry the livers, then you get nice browning flavours 🙂

Jillian
Jillian
4 years 3 months ago

Chicken broth would be a fine addition to taste and nutrients especially if homemade.

Sitara
4 years 4 months ago
I’ve been making my chicken liver pate with the addition of chicken hearts. I use one package of livers and one package of hearts. I start the hearts cooking first and add the livers later because the hearts take longer. Other than that my recipe is pretty much the same. The food processor completely smooths out the hearts and livers and the pate is really rich and satisfying. You get all the goodness of the liver plus the advantages of the nutrients in the hearts as well. Plus, chicken hearts are a cheap buy and this is a great way… Read more »
WildGrok
WildGrok
4 years 4 months ago

I will do this tomorrow for sure. The related recipe of the terrine (posted a while ago) was a big success at home.
Will add the hearts from Sitara’s comment, just read it as I type this!

Debra
4 years 4 months ago

I do a very similar thing with beef liver and it is delicious, too. I grew up with chopped liver, though, so a trip down memory lane may be in order!

Dave G
Dave G
4 years 4 months ago

I use chicken broth instead of water and schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) instead of butter. Gives it a much richer flavor.

Diane
Diane
4 years 4 months ago

MMMM. I know what’s on menu for my next wine tasting! (Actually, it will be an olive oil tasting, so the buttery pate will go great, without adding a different oil flavor that might distract.)

jean finch
jean finch
4 years 4 months ago

I just made this today and it is wonderful! I always make it with mushrooms and bacon which is also wonderful but there is something about the liver and lots of butter that is magical! I did not use the bay leaf, added a touch of wine.

Michal
Michal
4 years 4 months ago
THE TRUE SECRET OF SMOOTH PATE — The problem with liver pate of any kind is that you just never get all the conective tissue out, and blend all you like you will never make it like the canned variety soooo smooth. They just pulverise/overcook it to use all that stuff up. Just do the recepy and then right at the end press it through a sive. Use a broad spoon and press all the pate through the sive. You’ll be amazed just how much connective tissue will be eliminated. What will come through the sive will be a smooth… Read more »
primal pat
4 years 4 months ago

OHMAHGAWD, this looks unbelievable! Easy too! I need to pick up some chicken livers this work for sure. I bought butter imported from Poland too, and I have to say, it’s delicious!

TruckerLady
TruckerLady
4 years 4 months ago

Pate is a favorite of mine. I also recommend using a swivel to remove connective tissue. I eat it garnished with onion and cucumber. I also pour it into a loaf pan and slice it. Make a wrap using lettuce leaves, rolling it around raw veggies. Be imaginative with the garnishes and you’ll have a new dish for every day of the week. It is lovely served with onion soup on a cold day.

Paula
Paula
4 years 4 months ago

I had only tried chicken liver twice in my life (didn’t really love it at the time) but suddenly had a craving for it about a month ago (about 24 hrs after a minor surgical procedure). I’m glad I gave into that craving because I really liked it this time around so I’m excited to try the pate recipe!

Julia
Julia
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t have any chicken livers atm but have a bunch of pork liver in my freezer. Does anyone know if I can use the same recipe for pork liver? This would be FAB, I love pates but am frequently turned off by the standard ingredient “fillers.”

Caitlin
Caitlin
4 years 2 months ago

late to reply, but i just made this with pork livers and it came out very good. a stronger liver flavor than chicken livers would give you, but very nice.

Andy
Andy
4 years 4 months ago

I bought some chicken livers on a whim. I’m trying to like them, but all my previous attempts have been failures. The flavor is too strong. But just tonight I made this recipe – went with 8 tablespoons of butter, managed to get it all done in a blender, and… man, it is delicious! I might have found a way to truly enjoy liver. Thanks mark!

Alyssa
Alyssa
4 years 4 months ago

What do you eat the pate with? I’ve never tried liver, but I just got some chicken livers at the farmers market yesterday and want the first try to be a success!

Bevie
Bevie
4 years 4 months ago

This makes a great omelet filling.

Orielwen
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t get it. Why use unsalted butter and then add salt?

W.J. Purifoy
W.J. Purifoy
4 years 4 months ago

Most commercial products use standard table salt – we add sea salt – much healthier.

Orielwen
4 years 4 months ago

I assume that home-made pate lacks the listeriosis risk of shop-bought stuff?

BJML
BJML
4 years 4 months ago

I generally use unsalted butter because salt, being a preservative, allows even good organic companies and stores to sell older butter. Using unsalted ensures that it is fresher. Also, don’t know about you, but once I started eating unprocessed stuff, my tastes changed and this allows me to control the level of salt to my own taste.

Kevin of PrimalSurvival.org
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks Mark for this, but I think I will pass on this one. I am not a liver fan in any way. I used to eat it as a kid but now as an adult I just can’t do it. Taste buds change.

Claire
Claire
4 years 4 months ago

Can you use beef liver for this?

Kevin of PrimalSurvival.org
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t see why not

Erika
Erika
4 years 4 months ago

I would encourage everyone who hates liver to give this a try. I dry retch when I eat beef liver, but have been eating shop bought chicken liver pate for years. It is absolutely delicious – my favourite is cracked pepper flavour,

I should try making my own. But this doesn’t taste like liver, thats for sure. Love it with celery and carrots as a dip (with some nice cheese too)

Alyssa
Alyssa
4 years 4 months ago

Do you have any suggestions for what to eat it with other than raw veggies? I can’t eat anything raw ):

Janknitz
Janknitz
4 years 4 months ago
Definitely NOT my (kosher) grandma’s chopped liver. My grandma’s chopped liver was the best. She always sauteed onions in chicken fat (schmaltz) and ground it along with the liver (in those days before food processors she used a hand cranked meat grinder that clamped to the kitchen table). Heaven, and we stopped eating it because we thought it was so bad for us. Ha! She made egg salad the same way–sauteed onions in schmaltz (unless the eggs were served at a dairy meal) and mixed it in with the eggs–she didn’t know from mayonnaise. This was so yummy! As a… Read more »
Cristina
Cristina
4 years 4 months ago

I will need to try something like this… I just (like as in I’m eating it right now) made beef liver with some stewed tomatoes and mushrooms and eggplant and I might just *accidentally* forget to eat the leftovers. :/ My first time trying liver, it’s just hard for me mentally even though I think I like the taste… I really want to eat it though because it’s so cheap and healthy. Maybe this will help.

KL (almostGrok'd)
KL (almostGrok'd)
4 years 4 months ago

hate liver, LOVE pate. Go figure!

D
D
4 years 4 months ago

I’m going to try this recipe as soon as I can get the livers. I love any kind of liver, but my husband detests it, especially chicken liver. When I buy chicken liver, I usually just bake it in the oven until just done, eat what I want, and share with the dog. She loves it. But if the pate is as good as it sounds, she won’t get a bit of it. (Well, I’ll save a few livers for her for a snack.)

Candice
4 years 4 months ago

What about the bacon? Chicken liver pate without bacon? The way we do it we get two meals from one – we start out making Chicken Livers & Bacon for dinner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV7XzJq_BBo) and the blend up the leftovers to make pate for the next few days. We eat the livers on Napa Cabbage and the pate on carrots, cucumbers of raw sprouted seed crackers we buy at out local health food store.

Odette
Odette
4 years 4 months ago

Hmm, I love chicken livers! I am sure going to try this 🙂

Georgina
Georgina
4 years 4 months ago

This looks delicious, I cannot wait to try this!

Jenny
Jenny
4 years 4 months ago
I’ve always despised liver. My mother and brother used to share in their enjoyment of liverwurst as I grew up, and I always just scrunched my nose at it… However, with a slight case of NAFLD from being horribly underweight, I’ve read enough around the ‘unconventional health’-osphere to know the importance of choline… which is in highest concentrations in offal and eggs! SO this came at a perfect time; I’d had chicken livers sitting untouched in my freezer for a week. I made this yesterday and enjoyed it atop banh mi-like ingredients as a salad. Deeelicious! Never thought I could… Read more »
Grace
Grace
4 years 4 months ago

This looks fantastic! My husband won’t eat it, but I can share with my dog and cats. Now what can I spread it on? I don’t really care for vegetables and pate.

Leelan
4 years 4 months ago
Dear Mark, I don’t eat liver, ever, for any reason…… Wait, that was liver???? This was so good I gobbled it up. Not only that but so did my toddler. Thank you so much for this great recipe. I can’t tell you how much your website has helped my family. We have WWMD (What Would Mark Do) discussions often and it always gets us thinking in the healthiest direction. I have gotten the body of my dreams and come to think of it, I really should send you some before and after pictures. Thank you again. Keep up the amazing… Read more »
Daniel
Daniel
4 years 4 months ago

Hi!
Can I use goose fat instead of butter? Or it won’t taste as good as butter? Its bacause of kosher food and stuff..
thanks guys

Lauren
4 years 3 months ago

I made this on Friday and ate the last of it today (with a spoon, I might add). So yummy!

Pehr
Pehr
4 years 3 months ago

Thanks alot! I have been going primal for about two months now (got both your blueprint and cookbook) and have been looking for a way to enjoy liver. I have always hated liver except in our traditional Swedish liverpate. The only problem is that the store bought stuff has all these nasty things in it.

Anyway I tried this out today and it tastes fantastic. A lot better than the store bought stuff.

Actually I’m eating it right now with sticks of carrot and cucumber… Fantastic!!

Georgina
Georgina
4 years 3 months ago

I made some last night, it was a great idea! But wondering if anyone has tried it with something other than butter? solidified fat or something?

MN_John
MN_John
4 years 3 months ago

I made this last night, it was great! I normally hate liver but I remember my mother making pate years ago like that, so I thought I would give it a try. I’m so glad I did, it was very smooth with a mild liver flavor. I used freshly ground nutmeg, three times the garlic (it still didn’t taste garlicie to me), and a Vidalia onion instead of the shallot. It was wonderful. My wife can’t quit talking about it.

Caymansarah
Caymansarah
4 years 3 months ago

Yummy pâté. A great snack, especially for a new mum with little time to prep food. I need grab and go and this fits the bill.

SoCalBonnie
SoCalBonnie
4 years 3 months ago
Great recipe! My first attempt at cooking any kind of liver as I always hated it as a kid. It turned out wonderfully and we ate it all! I don’t use toast but I do use it spread on raw vegetables. I also spread it on those roasted dried seaweed sheets and roll them up for little snacks. I have a very similar recipe I got from an elderly Brazilian couple who made a batch of pâté once a week. They spread it on their toast every morning and said they’d been eating it for breakfast for several decades, but… Read more »
Scott
Scott
4 years 3 months ago

Adding a small quantity of dessert wine (Port, etc.) helps with the flavor. What about using aspic (cleat gelatin) to seal the pate. This is what I have always seen on store bought pate and terrine. It doesn’t last long enough to preserve it when I make it at home.

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