Here’s a super creamy homemade chicken liver pate with butter and juniper berries. Also check out my sin free chicken liver parfait! A delicious spread…
If only I had known much earlier about how to make pate at home because it’s so drop dead simple! Piece of cake really. Bake the chicken livers, add extra flavors, blend it and done.
Chicken Liver Pate: homemade!
This pate was extremely creamy, almost had a foie gras kind of texture to it.
Great spread for a sandwich! I’ll be doing this more regularly from now on. Maybe I’ll add orange zest next time… Or beer. Hmmm, food for thought.
Find other chicken liver pate recipes below my recipe by other food bloggers!
Pate and parfait
By the way: do you know the difference between chicken liver pate and chicken liver parfait? Learn all about it below as well!
Looking for a skinnier chicken liver pate recipe?
Then you might want to check out the second recipe here on this page: chicken liver pate made with oven baked livers, shallots and garlic with an apple jelly instead of a layer of butter to seal the pate with.
Do you love chicken livers?
Then also check out my other liver recipes: my chicken liver salad! Or how about my chicken liver ragu for pasta, or do you prefer my very popular chicken liver stew with balsamic vinegar?
In the meantime…
- 12,5 oz fresh chicken livers (350 g)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove chopped
- 8 dried juniper berries
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- ½ cup cream (120 ml)
1. Clean the livers. Trim and remove any fat and sinew. Then let the cleaned livers soak in a large bowl filled with cold water for at least 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime pour the cream in a small saucepan. Also add the rosemary and a tablespoon of butter. Season with some pepper and salt.
3. Bring the cream to a gentle boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until the butter has melted and turn the heat off again. Let the butter, cream and rosemary infuse while cooling down. Add another tablespoon of butter to a large pan and add the chopped garlic and shallot. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Then add the soaked and drained chicken livers.
4. Bake the livers for 5 minutes until cooked through. Stir regularly. Take the pan off the heat and let the livers cool down. Then transfer them to a clean blender.
5. Pulse into a thick paste. Gradually add the infused cream and butter (discard the rosemary first).
6. Blend until you get a smooth pate. Add half of the juniper berries. Check the seasoning and add pepper and salt to taste. Blend one last time. Then transfer the pate to a ceramic dish.
7. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and add the remaining (crushed) juniper berries. I also added some of the cooked rosemary leaves. Once the butter has fully melted, pour this over the chicken pate.
8. Store the pate in the fridge for 2 to 4 days before serving.
Looking for a skinny version?
So I’m invited to this food party later next week at my neighbour’s and everyone is taking a couple of small dishes to share. Because I know that everyone attending this party is fond of liver, I’m planning to make some homemade pate.
But here’s the catch. I’m just returning from some weeks in the Swiss mountains and have been saturated by sturdy mountain food that is very rich and kind of hugging your stomach. Lots of cream, potatoes, pasta, butter, roast meat and such. So I thought I should look for a more skinnier pate version.
Besides, some of the party attendees are trying to insert some weight watchers recipes in their meals from time to time. And yes, I’m sure you can knock off quite a few calories by adjusting my original pate recipe. More specifically about 60 calories per portion.
Light Sin Free Chicken Liver Pate
So let’s try this one without the butter and cream!
How? By roasting the chicken livers, onion and garlic in the oven and adding milk instead of cream. And then replace the layer of melted butter on top of the pate by a simple apple juice jelly.
The chicken liver pate recipe from WW is quite different from mine, but you might want to check that one out as well. I like their little helpful and interesting note at the end of the recipe though, and allow me to quote:
“For a good decade or so the Weight Watchers Program required members to eat liver once a week, to make they got plenty of iron in their diets. But how challenging that must have been for vegetarians —not to mention droves of confirmed liver haters! Cookbooks included plenty of liver recipes, and sometimes entire chapters were devoted to liver alone. Today, we include just one liver recipe in this cookbook. You can also freeze the pâté to have on hand for entertaining; it will last in the freezer for up to three months.”
We are in for a winner here, I can feel it.
Here's a super creamy homemade sin free chicken liver parfait! What a delicious spread...
- 12,5 oz fresh chicken livers (350 g)
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 large garlic clove peeled
- ¾ cup (skimmed) milk (180 ml)
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary or dried rosemary leaves
- ¾ cup apple juice (180 ml)
- 1 slice fresh ginger
- 1 sheet gelatine
1. Clean the livers. Trim and remove any fat and sinew. Then let the cleaned livers soak in a large bowl filled with cold water for at least 30 minutes.
2. Then transfer the soaked livers onto some kitchen paper and let them drain for 5 minutes. Place the livers on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Add the sliced onion and the whole peeled garlic clove to the livers. Season well with pepper and salt.
3. Place the baking tray with the livers in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) and bake the livers for 30 minutes until cooked through. Once the livers are cooked, remove the tray and let them cool for 10 minutes. In the meantime add the milk and rosemary leaves to small saucepan. Season with some pepper, nutmeg and salt.
4. Boil the milk gently for 5 minutes. Then turn the heat off and let the cream and rosemary infuse while cooling down. Then transfer the cooked livers to a clean blender.
5. Process into a thick paste. Gradually add the infused milk (discard the rosemary leaves first by straining it).
6. Blend until you get a smooth pate. Then check the seasoning and add pepper, nutmeg or salt to taste. Blend one last time. You can push the pate through a sieve if you like (optional).
7. Then transfer the pate to a ceramic dish or small ramekins. Place the pate I the fridge for now. In the meantime soak the gelatine in some cold water for 5 minutes. Add the apple juice and fresh ginger to a saucepan and place this over medium-high heat until boiling. Let the apple juice reduce by half. Then remove the ginger and stir in the gelatine.
8. Take the pan off the heat and let the apple juice cool for 2 minutes. Then gently pour it over the cooled chicken liver pate. Store the pate in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving.
What is the difference between chicken liver pate and chicken liver parfait?
Pate can be a bit coarser in texture.
To make it smoother, push the cooked liver mixture through a fine sieve to remove any sinewy larger grainier bits and your chicken liver pate becomes a classic chicken liver parfait! This results in a much silkier, smoother and creamier liver parfait.
Which makes it just perfect as an appetizer spread.
Which one do you prefer?
The creamier parfait or the coarser chicken liver pate? If I really have to choose, I’d go for the parfait. How about you?
Why soaking liver in milk or water?
I’ve heard about soaking fresh liver in milk, water and buttermilk during my years of food blogging now. Just a small amount of people don’t even think that it is necessary to soak fresh liver at all and just let the liver rest on some kitchen paper an hour before cooking to drain any blood.
So when I ask people why they soak fresh liver, the main reason they give me is because their mom or grandmother used to do it but they never thought about asking them exactly why they did that at all. No joke.
The overall number one soaking liquid that is used the most to soak fresh liver in is milk apparently. Not sure why milk though. I did some research on internet to get some clarity about this technique.
Some say that it is due to the pH of milk (in chemistry, pH or potential of hydrogen is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution). Milk is acidic, which allegedly breaks the meat down and extracts its bitter flavor and would reduce a lot of the gamey taste.
Some even use buttermilk to enhance that effect, especially to soak game in which is much stronger and more bitter in flavor.
Lots of recipes for fresh liver, fresh foie gras, fresh sweetbreads (oh how I love cooking with fresh sweetbreads!), fresh kidneys and other types of fresh ‘offal’ ask for a soaking step some time before cooking. So here again, the question is why.
This step apparently serves a very simple purpose because it removes any trace of the animal’s bodily fluids that could have a negative effect on the taste. Recipes often want you to soak foie gras, fresh liver and sweetbreads in milk.
Because it is often said that milk improves the taste, purges blood and lightens the color of the meat. I have also heard that it would also remove any toxins in the liver. Which sounds quite strange since you can’t remove the toxins in anything by soaking it in milk, or in any other liquid.
There is also no scientific basis for this so I guess that’s an urban myth.
So why soak liver before cooking it?
Here are the 3 main reasons I could find:
- to soften the bitter, gamey and metallic flavor
- it removes any blood and other animal fluids
- to soften the texture
Do you know of another reason why you should soak liver before using it?
Or are you absolutely adamant that liver doesn’t need to be soaked at all? Then drop me a line in the comment box on the bottom of this page or send me an email! I’m always ready to learn more.
Are there other ways to soak liver?
Some suggest a brine, in other words water with salt added to it.
That apparently also pulls blood and other fluids from the meat. I have to admit that I have heard and read about soaking marrow bones in a light brine to get rid of any blood. Using brine would also draw out some bitterness through a different reaction between the salt and fluids in the meat.
So some are convinced that using salted water works even better than milk.
Another way to soak liver is in acidic water: the acidity seems to break down the liver and makes its texture more palatable.
Therefore place the liver in a bowl, add a little water until it is just submerged. Then add a tablespoon of lemon juice or 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Let the liver soak for a few hours before cooking, then drain and pat dry.
Chicken liver pate recipes
1) Bacon & Chicken Liver Pate (Mommy Potamus)
As you may have already understood, I love a good homemade chicken liver pate. But who could ever say no to a chicken liver pate with bacon! I certainly couldn’t. Check out this great pate recipe by Heather over at Mommy Potamus. The recipe is pretty straight forward, very easy to make. This chicken liver pate might actually persuade a couple of liver haters but bacon lovers in my group of friends. Worth giving it a try then!
2) Chicken Liver Pate with Pistachios (Food & Wine)
What made me stop to read this next chicken liver pate is not only the lovely presentation, but also the addition of pistachios. That’s what I’m after in this chicken liver pate roundup: chicken liver pate recipes with just that little extra. Credits for this recipe that I found on Food & Wine go to Marcia Kiesel. I also like the dry marsala wine in it. I can really see those flavors come together beautifully. Excellent recipe!
3) Herbed Chicken Liver Pate (Casa Veneration)
Next up is a very simple chicken liver pate recipe, in fact it’s this simplicity that had me include it here. Herbed liver pate, I like the sound of that. Chef behind this one is Connie at Casa Veneracion. And it’s not only the flavourful herbs that I like in this pate (the dried rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano), but I like her idea of serving this pate with jam, hibiscus jam. Which also makes it a lovely starter!
4) Chicken liver pate with port wine (Taste)
And here is another complete starter idea for chicken liver pate! This is a more hands on recipe, because this chicken liver pate has to be baked in the oven for a change. Plus you have to make your own red currant and port wine jelly to pour on top of the baked pate. Never mind, this chicken liver pate from Taste really is a catch I think. If you are in for a bit of an experiment, this is the recipe you want to try out!
5) Rosemary Balsamic Chicken Liver Pate (Healthful Pursuit)
I like chicken liver pate as an appetizer, but you don’t always have to spread it on top of some crunchy melba toasts. I like the idea of serving it with raw celery stalks! Love this chicken liver pate with celery appetizer idea, I can almost taste that combo! This pate by Leanne Vogel over at Healthful Pursuit is flavored with balsamic vinegar and rosemary. And I quote: it’s paleo, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, yeast free, corn free, grain free, nut free, egg free, low carb and keto. Well that’s a mouthful!
Chicken liver parfait recipes
1) Chicken Liver Parfait with Cranberry Butter (Hairy Bikers)
I first got to know the Hairy Bikers when they did an episode about Belgium and Belgian food years ago. Ever since then I have followed them more closely. And since I was familiar with their chicken liver parfait recipe, I thought I should include it here in my roundup! What can I say: perfect parfait (pun intended). Flavors I like here: allspice, brandy, madeira. And don’t forget the great match with that cranberry butter on top! Awesome, these guys never let me down.
2) Old School Chicken Liver Parfait with Sage & Clarified Butter (Jamie Oliver)
Love him or hate him, Jamie has a bunch of delicious classic recipes up his sleeve (and on his website).
For instance how about this old school chicken liver parfait? I love the sound of that.
His recipe is not very different from all the other parfaits I’ve come across.
I do like the addition of the sage here. That’s a herb that goes extremely well with the gamey taste of liver.
3) Chicken Liver Parfait with Apple Jelly (The Happy Foodie)
Now you know where I got idea from to replace the layer of butter on top of my chicken liver pate by a skinny layer of apple juice jelly. This recipe featured on The Happy Foodie is the chicken liver parfait from Catherine Phipps‘ Chicken Cookbook.
It is a super smooth and rich, spreadable pate and a classic French dish. You can hear me coming already it’s a perfect dinner party starter recipe! And thanks for the apple jelly idea, love it!
4) Truffled Chicken Liver Mousse (Food Network)
Wow! This very next chicken liver pater recipe had me stop dead in my tracks: how do you like the sound of this truffled chicken liver mousse? Again I think that this combo is a winner: truffle flavor and chicken liver! Since I wrote this article about truffles (and made my own truffle butter) I have been looking for cool recipes with truffle. And I get just what I want down at The Food Network. Credits for this recipe go to very popular food blogger Ina Garden. Thanks for the idea!
Recipes with chicken liver paté or parfait
1) Chicken Liver Pate & Chutney Croutes (Wealden Times)
I’ve seen loads of appetizer crostini bites with chicken liver pate, topped with various flavors and textures: from caramelised onions to pickled vegetables. But I picked this liver pate and fruit chutney over at the Wealden Times for my roundup here. It’s like in the previous recipes, when chicken liver pate is paired with something fruity. From an apple juice jelly to cranberry butter! Just pick your favorite fruit chutney and serve it with your homemade chicken liver pate. Awesome appetizer.
2) Mushroom & Chicken Liver Pate Croissant (Foodie Story)
Sure you can use homemade chicken liver pate as a sandwich spread as well! And not just any spread: how do you like this next recipe? A golden croissant stuffed with liver pate and sautéed mushrooms. Oh and it gets even better than that: the sautéed mushrooms also contain bacon! Glorious bacon. So I think that we are in for a lovely lunch croissant here, by Juventia over at Foodie Story. Definitely worth a try!
3) Deviled Eggs with Chicken Liver Pate (BBC Good Food)
Here’s an third recipe you can use chicken liver pate for and I like this one a lot: deviled eggs! Who doesn’t love deviled eggs. I often prepare deviled eggs at home and I have come up with several different kinds of stuffing.
But I have actually never thought of adding chicken liver pate to the cooked egg yolks! Great garnish idea for these eggs: some chicken crackling, I just love that idea! Now I have to find out how to make that as well. Love the recipes of BBC Good Food.
What (more) to cook with chicken liver pate?
Now that’s a good question. Well I have to say that I didn’t find a lot more recipe ideas to use chicken liver pate in. So how about I do some brainstorming for you instead. I just imagine having prepped a bunch of chicken liver pate, too much to spread it on toast, sandwiches, use it as an appetizer dip, stuffed eggs with it and what not. So here are some of the ideas that pop up into my mind right away:
1) Chicken liver pate spaghetti
I actually made a chicken liver ragu before, a lovely chunky baked chicken liver sauce for pasta. And I loved it. But I never thought of adding a couple of spoonfuls of homemade chicken liver pate instead. I would add some extra cream to it though to make it extra smooth and velvety. And a good dash of pepper as well.
2) Dirty rice & shrimp with chicken liver pate
You sure must be familiar with dirty rice: stir fried rice with baked liver chunks stirred into it and served with prawns. And for that reason I think that adding chicken liver pate to the rice with some extra liquid (like chicken stock, milk or cream) would work just as good. Rice and liver? Love it!
3) Liver dumpling soup
I made bread dumplings in broth before. And since I’m fond of liver I have always had a fondness for German liver dumplings or Leberknödel. So the classic recipe for liver dumplings goes like this: grind fresh liver in a food processor until smooth, add breadcrumbs, egg, flour, salt and pepper.
Then add spoonfuls of this mixture to a boiling broth and simmer them for 25 to 30 minutes. Now I’m sure that replacing the fresh liver with chicken liver pate would work just as good. Yum.
4) Chicken liver pate risotto with dried mushrooms
Ah glorious risotto. Yet another recipe that I love making, and one I make a lot at home. So imagine: just a couple of minutes before your simple risotto is about to be al dente, stir in some butter and a couple of spoonfuls of chicken liver pate.
I do feel the need here however to counter attack the liver flavor here with something even stronger: how about some soaked mushrooms like morels or porcini? And this again asks for a fresh touch: I would add quite a good amount of freshly chopped chives!
5) Gnocchi in chicken liver pate sauce
This idea comes from a meal I had in Northern Italy while on a snow holiday in the Dolomite mountains a few years back. We had a hearty lunch in a cozy little Italian restaurant: pan fried gnocchi with cream sauce, a little truffle oil and grilled hazelnuts. I have always thought that a creamy chicken liver sauce would go well with gnocchi.
So how about adding a couple of spoonfuls of chicken liver pate to simmering cream and drizzle that on top of freshly cooked or pan fried gnocchi. Serve the gnocchi sprinkled with a handful of crunchy roasted walnuts: liver and walnuts, perfect.
6) Biscuits and liver gravy
Is this a crazy recipe? Do I really think then that I could add chicken liver pate to the gravy I normally serve with the classic biscuits? Yessir, that’s exactly what I think. And let me tell you: it will work out just fine.
Pretty sure I wouldn’t serve it as a breakfast though because it might be a little too heavy on the stomach and palate. But I wouldn’t say no to a hot plate of creamy biscuits and gravy, flavored with chicken liver pate!