The reasons why I created this recipe … ease, taste, and storage.
Ease … the best thing about chicken livers is you can find them in most super markets; unlike other poultry livers. Trust me; I have tried. The other great reason why to make a pate out of chicken livers is that you don’t have to store it to let it ‘set’ for days like other pates: you can actually serve it warm right after it’s done …
Taste … 3/4 cup of bourbon. Why did I put that much brown liquor in the pate? Our family not only uses American oak barrels for our heavier red wines; we use American oak barrels for some of our chardonnays too. Why does this mater for this pate recipe? Well … your average bourbon has been aged in American oak barrels and the smokiness and richness of those barrels comes alive in this pate with the nutmeg and the thyme that is added with onions and shallots. This smokiness is another reason why I used Applewood smoked bacon instead of your standard bacon.
Storage … you will find out many of my recipes some of the ‘leftovers’ are put into the freezer. This is from my mother and grandmother … both lived at ranches that were, or the winery was, at least thirty minutes out-of-town. Which meant they always had backup dishes in the freezer. I make a batch of this pate before the summer season or the holiday season in Sonoma for my own personal use to take to parties. I just have to take it out of the freezer the morning of and let it thaw out in the fridge … then get fresh radishes, crusty bread as well as olives, cornichons and other pickled items.
Drunken Chicken Pate
- 1 ½ to 2 pounds of chicken livers
- 6 pieces of Applewood smoked thick-cut bacon – chopped
- 2 teaspoons of nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 medium sweet onion – sliced thinly
- 2 large shallots – sliced thinly
- ¾ cup of bourbon – yep, that’s why it’s drunken
- 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of cracked black pepper
- Step 1 In a large frying pan slowly cook bacon over low heat, when bacon is done (when all of the fat of the bacon is crispy) remove bacon from pan and keep fat and cooking bits in pan. Put bacon in a bowl and cover.
- Step 2 Rinse livers with water in a colander.
- Step 3 Let livers drain for a few minutes.
- Step 4 Add half of thyme leaves, one teaspoon of nutmeg, and half of livers in pan – sauté until livers stop bleeding.
- Step 5 When done, remove livers from fat and put in bowl with bacon.
- Step 6 Add rest of thyme, nutmeg and remaining livers to pan to cook.
- Step 7 When done remove livers from fat and put in bowl with bacon.
- Step 8 In remaining fat add onions, shallots and bourbon cook slowly while scraping all baked bits off sides and bottom of pan until onions and shallots are translucent and fluid has reduced to almost nothing.
- Step 9 In a food processor chop bacon until almost smooth, then add livers a few at a time. Add salt, pepper and onion mix … process until smooth.
- Step 10 Divide pate into five or six ramekins, cover in plastic and refrigerate for up to four days. These freeze well, and can be frozen for up to two months. Just make sure you thaw them out in the refrigerator the morning of serving.