This parfait* recipe is so simple, so tasty and ideal if you are time poor ( that’s a very fancy way of saying busy ) and that is probably most of us, even if you have stopped with a coffee to browse this posting. The best thing about this recipe is that it does not require the poaching in a water bath or bain-marie that you find in classic pâté and parfait recipes. Actually, make that the second best thing, the most important thing you need to know about this parfait is it is delicious, absolutely delicious. It is easily adapted, and you can fancy it up a little up by substituting duck livers for chicken and adding extra flavours like orange peel, tarragon, and Cointreau.
You can serve this pate as a simple starter with crisp Melba toast and maybe some tangy, delicious homemade chutney or you can take it in a cold box, on a picnic, to generously spread on crusty French bread. I personally love the taste of chicken livers and have to be stopped picking them from the pan once cooked, but some people find any liver can be a little strong. You can soak your chicken livers in milk overnight in the refrigerator to achieve an even milder finish. Just strain and blot dry with kitchen paper before cooking.
*A parfait is a really, really silky smooth pâté that you can whip up like a mousse.
Easy Chicken Liver Parfait for 6 to 8 medium ramekins
2 x 250g packs of Jersey Butter ( other butters are great too )
1kg Chicken Livers, preferably free-range or organic, trimmed
4 large Banana Shallots, peeled and very finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
A small bunch of fresh Thyme leaves picked
50ml good quality Olive Oil
Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
A small wineglass of Brandy
Thyme, Bay leaves, Pink Peppercorns
Clarified Butter – Place one whole pack of butter in a pan on a low heat or pilot light and let it tick away for 20 to 30 minutes until completely separated. The clear butterfat will separate from the white part in the bottom which is the whey. Skim the clear fat off the top and put in a separate container. This a similar technique to making Ghee the staple of Indian cookery and the base of many of the rich buttery curry sauces. Clarified butter can be used at a much higher temperature because there are no milk solids to burn.
In the oil sauté the shallot, garlic, and thyme for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and just starting to colour. Turn up the heat and add a splash more oil, the chicken livers and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about more than 4 minutes until the livers plump up and they are still very pink in the middle. Add brandy to the pan of livers, and let it flame off. Tip everything straight into a food processor with all the juices scraping out the pan. Blitz until smooth and check seasoning. Dice up your remaining pack of butter, and add it piece by piece, with the food processor still running. Wait for each piece to be combined before adding more. Keep whizzing when it’s all in, and you’ll see it start to shine. Taste again and season again if necessary. Pass through a fine sieve and pour into ramekins, then cool. Decorate with thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns and top with clarified butter. Return to refrigerator and serve once the butter is set.
Allergens in this recipe are;