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Chicken Liver Pâté

  • Prep Time: 2 hours 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups


  • 1 20-ounce container fresh chicken livers (found in 20 ounce tubs in most supermarkets)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ stick butter
  • ¾ cup finely minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Few grinds black pepper
  • ½ cup cognac
  • 4 tablespoons chicken fat (schmaltz)
  • 34 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Trim all fat and connecting tissue from chicken livers. Place cleaned livers in a small bowl and cover with the milk. Place in the refrigerator for two hours.
  2. Place soaked livers in a strainer and strain and discard liquid.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and add shallots, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté until shallots are tender, about 4-5 minutes and do not brown.
  4. Turn burner to medium high to high heat and add livers and cognac. Cook for about five minutes until cooked but still slightly pink inside. Since the livers I used were different sizes, I pulled the smaller ones out after about four minutes and let the bigger ones continue to cook so that none of the livers overcooked. This is important to not overcook them as they will get tough and rubbery. But it is equally as important to cook them over a somewhat high heat so that they brown. At the end of the five minutes, any liquid should have evaporated. If not, remove cooked livers and cook liquid a minute or so longer to evaporate. Set the pan and cooked liver aside to cool slightly.
  5. Once cool enough to handle, place the cooked livers and the contents of the pan into a blender. Add all of the chicken fat and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and puree until fine. Use the last tablespoon of cream if necessary to yield a creamy texture. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Pour into a serving container, cover tightly with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the top of the pate tight. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  7. Serve with crackers (we found rice crackers to be the best) and cornichons which are tart little mini pickles and often served with pâté.
  8. Keeps well up to five days refrigerated but over time the pâté will begin to turn grey where it has been exposed to air. This change in color does not alter the taste at all.