I saw this while reading Bon Appetit on a flight to Dallas the day after Thanksgiving and it never left my mind. Chicken Liver Pate with a Riesling Thyme Gelee?
I mean, really.
I'm a huge pate lover, much to the dismay of my waistline. I could shovel it into my mouth as if it was the last thing I was ever going to eat. Pate, Mousse, and chicken liver (like they serve on Passover). It's really disturbing. Nomnomnom.
The only thing that stinks about making pate from scratch?
Actually having to touch the raw chicken liver. There are just some foods that you don't want to know what it looks like it it's uncooked, natural form.
So I quickly seared the livers in a pan with thyme, shallots, and calvados and then I blended that thing to kingdom come, dropping in bits of butter and watching the pate get lighter and fluffier. And with every piece of butter I dropped in, I heard my waistline cry.
But it's the holidays! Don't you love that excuse? (Unless you are Jillian and Bob from Biggest Loser).
I poured the pate in a serving dish and then went on to make the Riesling gelee (the part that I was most excited about).
I'm not going to lie, whenever I have to use gelatin, I think I'm messing something up. It never "blooms" the way I think it should, but I guess I got it right, because the gelatin set up perfectly.
And was VERY boozy. Just the way I like it. BOOZE!
This was a huge hit. People flocked to it. Even non-pate eaters (huh?) found themselves having a taste. Because the flavor is so light and delicate and just wonderful. A huge, huge hit. Make this for your New Years Ever party for one last indulgent hurray for the holidays! Because come Monday, it's all about Jillian and Bob and The Biggest Loser Pentathalon (seriously that thing even scares me and I work out a lot).
Chicken Liver Mousse with Riesling Thyme Gelee
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes 3 cups
- 1 pound chicken livers, cleaned
- 4 cups milk, divided
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Gelée and Toasts
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 cup sweet (Auslese) Riesling
- Fresh thyme sprigs or leaves (optional)
- 16 1/4"-thick slices white sandwich bread, each cut into 4 triangles
- Melted unsalted butter
Special equipmentSmall (2–4-oz.) glass jars or bowls
Mellow the flavor of the chicken livers by placing them in a glass bowl with 2 cups milk. Cover; chill for 2 hours. Drain; discard milk. Return livers to same bowl, add the remaining 2 cups milk, cover, and chill for 2 more hours (or overnight). Drain; discard milk and rinse livers. Pat dry with paper towels.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl; set aside. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallots and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Add livers, increase heat to medium, and cook, turning once, until livers are firm but still pink inside, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in Calvados. Return to heat; cook until Calvados is reduced by half, about 30 seconds. Discard thyme.
Transfer liver mixture to a food processor; add 2 tsp. salt and pepper. Process until smooth. With processor running, add remaining butter by tablespoonfuls until all butter is incorporated. Transfer mousse to prepared strainer. Using a rubber spatula, press mousse through strainer. Rinse and dry strainer, then strain mousse again, discarding solids in strainer. Divide among small jars. Chill until firm, 1–2 hours.
Gelée and Toasts
Place 1/4 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Microwave gelatin mixture until gelatin dissolves and mixture becomes clear, about 30 seconds. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Stir in wine. Spoon gelée over mousse in jars, forming a 1/4" layer (not all gelée may be used). Top each jar with thyme sprigs or leaves, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until gelée is set, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Spoon gelée over mousse in jars, forming a 1/4” layer (not all gelée may be used). Top each jar with thyme sprigs or leaves, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until gelée is set, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450°. Arrange bread triangles on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Let mousse soften slightly at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving with toasts