December 11, 2009

Happy Hour at Home: Kirs, Chicken Liver Paté and Maple Apples


Draw closer, dear readers. I’m about to share with you a gem from the recipe treasure trove.

There are some foods I make and write about on this blog that are weeknight-worthy. Simple cooking is very often the most delicious, and putting dinner on the table each night with care and consideration is, in my opinion, one of the most artful acts on earth. But every once in a while, I raise my sight line from ground level to the stars. Perhaps, let’s say, when a friend is coming over for a drink and a nibble. Then I remember something so show-stoppingly delicious, I wonder how it could have even fallen out of my repertoire for as long as it has and moreover, why I have kept it from you for all these years. Forgive me. I’m about to pay it forward, win you admirers, lovers, and friends for life, all with the following recipe.

This chicken liver paté is the reason I wanted a food processor of my own. It has accompanied me to holiday parties and book club (hi ladies!), and it is always met with delight. Perhaps those who don’t like organ meats stay quiet, as they should, frankly. People who like paté will love this. And as you know, I don’t make a lot of high-minded, definitive proclamations, but if I’m sure of anything in this world, it is how truly fabulous this paté recipe is.

As for the kir, need I mention anything more than it is a favorite of Poirot? Together, these two make for a posh happy hour, the ever-so-slightly syrupy kir a perfect match for the rounded, rich saltiness of the paté. I like to imagine MFK Fisher in the Dijon years wearing a pencil skirt and dreaming up ideas while eating sipping and eating in the company of a very good, very wise female friend.

Come to think of it, perhaps this is just what we need to get in the holiday spirit. I don’t think it could hurt.


Serves 1

I like just a slightly sweet kir, so I use a gentle hand with the cassis. If you like yours sweeter, just add more.

1 teaspoon crème de cassis
6 ounces chilled dry white wine

Add cassis to glass. Pour in white wine and serve.

Chicken Liver Paté
adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 12

In addition to the marvelous flavor of this paté, I love that it gives the impression of being quite elegant, and yet is so, so affordable to make — perfect for the glamour girl who requires just a bit of sleight of hand to pull off her act.

15 tablespoons (1 7/8 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ pound chicken livers, rinsed and drained
½ pound white mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cup chopped scallions, white and pale-green parts only (about 3 scallions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 to 3 cloves)
⅓ cup white wine
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add livers, mushrooms, scallions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until livers are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Add wine and thyme. Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook until mushrooms are very soft, about 10 minutes. Let mixture cool completely.

Process mixture and remaining 12 tablespoons butter in a food processor until smooth. Stir in 1½ teaspoons salt. Transfer paté to serving dish and cover with plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve with bread and sauteed apples.

Maple Apples
Pears would also be a lovely substitute here.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 juicy, sweet-tart apples, peeled and cut into 12 wedges each
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add apples; cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes total. Stir in syrup and salt; reduce heat to low. Simmer until apples are soft, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

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  • Adrienne: See, pate is one of those things I’m a little scared to make myself. I think I can do it… I do have a food processor. Now, I just have to find an occasion.6 years ago

  • Nishta: I like my kirs with sparkling wine and they are delicious! definitely “up” the grammar factor…6 years ago

  • Steffie: Growing a baby means I have to skip the heavenly sounding kir, but the pate looks like a good source of protein and iron. I’ve always loved chicken livers, especially breaded lightly and fried! Must try this! *annotates her grocery list*6 years ago

  • Katy: Sarah! This is my favorite meal. Promise me you’ll do a rerun when I sleep over.6 years ago

  • Jora: “Perhaps those who don’t like organ meats stay quiet, as they should, frankly.” Too funny! I am so trying this paté recipe….6 years ago

  • BethP: Yes! I’m so making this for my mom at Christmastime. I prefer kir royales, with champagne, like Nishta!6 years ago

  • Karen: Perfect combination. I really think I can handle these recipes too! Thanks for another great idea!6 years ago

  • fefe: sounds yummy…and usually i could take or leave the organ meats 😉6 years ago

  • Lisa: Oh, this all looks so good! I’d been so looking forward to a celebratory drink with the birth of my little one … but he’s been here 6 weeks almost and I just haven’t had a taste for the stuff yet. But I LOVE kirs and perhaps this is just the (belated) ticket!

    We had delicious chicken liver pate at our wedding, made from our chickens’ livers … pretty cool. This recipe looks close — can’t wait to try it!6 years ago

  • Anne: Loved loved loved the MFK Fisher reference. I linked over to the cauliflower recipe and will be trying that too.
    I am off in search of a kir…6 years ago

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Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.
- Samuel Pepys