Chicken Liver Pâté


Recipe and Images by Kathy Paterson

I’m stoked to see a resurgence of this classic French dish with its silky smooth texture in cafes and restaurants.

Pâté is simple to make at home, it’s full of flavour and best of all, the chicken livers are nutrient dense.

If you can’t buy fresh then buy frozen. Thaw completely before using. Soaking livers in milk beforehand mellows the liver flavour, but it is not essential.

Butter adds creaminess, improving flavour and mouthfeel. You do need plenty of fat to help emulsify the pâté and give it that texture I’m talking about.

The herbs add freshness and help balance the flavours.


Serves 4 (makes 2 small jars)

250g free-range chicken livers

100ml milk

100g butter, diced (divided into 3 uses)

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

5 fresh sage leaves or French tarragon leaves, plus a few tiny leaves to garnish, optional

1 bay leaf

50ml brandy

Serving suggestions

Witloof (chicory or Belgian endive), leaves separated

Ripe pear slices

Wagyu bresaola, optional

Bread slices, fresh or toasted


Clean the chicken livers by removing any connective tissue and sinew. Put into a bowl and pour over the milk. Cover bowl and put in the fridge for 2 hours.

Drain the chicken livers and dry on kitchen paper. Discard the milk.

Heat about 25g of the measured butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and cook until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, sage or tarragon leaves and the bay leaf and cook for a further minute until aromatic. Turn up the heat a little and add the chicken livers. Cook for 2–3 minutes until browned on the outside but still pink inside. Pour in the brandy, allow to bubble up then remove from the heat. (Cook livers until pink inside and no longer, otherwise your pâté may become gritty.) Leave to cool for a few minutes then put into a food processor.

Process until smooth then slowly add most of remaining butter for a smoother texture. Taste for salt and add a little freshly ground black pepper.

Pass pâté through a fine sieve.

To serve, spoon into 2 small clean jars or ramekins and smooth the top. Melt the remaining butter and spoon over the top of the pâté (leaving milk solids behind). Cover and put in the fridge to firm up for a few hours or overnight if time allows. It will keep in the fridge for 3–4 days if sealed with a thin layer of butter.

Remove pâté from the fridge, about 20 minutes before serving so it is not fridge cold. Serve sprinkled with flaky salt and pepper (and extra sage leaves, if you wish), with fresh or toasted bread slices, witloof leaves, fresh pear slices and add Wagyu bresaola, if using.

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