Chicken Liver Porcini Pâté with Pistachios

What do you think of when you hear the word chicken liver? I am sure there is a wide spectrum of responses. I grew up eating pâté in delicious banh mi sandwiches without ever knowing that what I was really eating was liver, which is probably why my response to this question falls towards the favorable end of the spectrum.  For the holidays I made a luxurious pâté from Nikki Stitch's cookbook Delicious Days. Nikki is a food blogger and cookbook writer in Germany who will be releasing a new book soon. I've cooked through most of the recipes in Delicious Days, so I'm looking forward to seeing what she has in store in the next book.

This recipe calls for chicken liver that is sauteed in butter and country aromatics, blended with more melted butter and sweet ripe Marsala wine for lusciousness, and mixed with pistachios to integrate a nuanced texture to the silky smooth pâté. The result is an exquisite spread worthy of a prominent spot at the holiday table. Pair with a freshly baked crusty baguette and this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

If you have time to choose your liver, Jacques Pepin recommends selecting paler specimens which are richer and mellower in flavor. 

Chicken Liver Porcini Pâté with Pistachios
From Delicious Days by Nicole Stitch
  • 5 grams dried porcini mushrooms
  • 200 grams chicken livers
  • 75 grams butter
  • 3-4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 scallion
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons salted pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat or butter
  1. Soak porcinis in hot water for at least 15 minutes, then squeeze the excess liquid out of them, and chop finely. 
  2. Prepare the liver: Rinse the liver under cold running water in a strainer, and dry with a paper towel. Remove the sinews and membrane. Cut large livers in half. 
  3. Melt 50 grams of butter in a small saucepan, and set aside to cool.
  4. Rinse and dry the scallion and thyme. Plucking off the thyme leaves and set aside. Slice the scallion finely. 
  5. In a small to medium saute pan, melt the remainder of the butter over medium heat until it foams. Saute the scallions until it is translucent. Add the thyme, prepared livers, and porcinis. Saute until the liver is cooked through, this should take roughly 6 minutes. Test for doneness by taking one of the larger pieces and cut through the middle, the center should be barely pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the Marsala. 
  6. Allow the cooked liver to cool for a bit before proceeding to blending it in a food processor. Take care to avoid blending too finely. Stir in the cooled butter made in step 3, and the heavy cream. Coarsely chop the pistachios and mix about half of it into the pâté.  I tend to like more texture, so I add more than half. Fill the pâté in a small dish, cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Melt the duck fat or butter over low heat, and pour over the chilled pâté with a tablespoon. Evenly distribute the fat by carefully tilting the dish around so that it covers the pâté. Sprinkle the remainder of the pistachios, cover, and refrigerate for at least another hour. 
The pâté should keep well for at least four days.

Here is a picture of the snow that has been dumped in New York. I haven't been able to venture too far to see what else is going on in town – I'm afraid of slipping and falling, as many people have done over the last two days.  What I can tell you is that it has been interesting to see how much this snow has been able to bring the city that never sleeps to a screeching halt.


Claudia said...

Where do I start? The duck fat? The Marsala? The pistachios? The myriad of tastes. Chicken liver alone - maybe not so much - chicken livers as pate - absolutely! A fitting appetizer for the New Year,

sweetlife said...

I love chicken livers as my mom made them for us often, a perfect appetizer for any holiday. I can imagine the flavor from the pistachios and marsala. Oh good idea to stay indoors, in your momminess right know try to be extra carfeul...hey I bet you cannot wait until next Christmas, how exciting !!...our girls make the holidays so much more merrier!!
take care

Dinners and Dreams said...

I love liver pate and haven't had it in a long time. Kudos for making your own. It looks just like what a proper pate should be.


From the Kitchen said...

Deliciously beautiful! Add a loaf of good bread and I wouldn't mind being snowed in! You've really had a nasty few days. Glad you could stay in.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore chicken liver pate, and this one looks amazing with porcini mushrooms and pistachios! Excellent!

Mari Nuñez said...

It looks tempting and delicious, I have to try it! Maybe with almonds :)

Happy holidays!

Asha @ FSK said...

That is mouthwateringly gorgoeus!!! Love the combination of pistachios with the pate! Hope you are doing well .. I see the cravings are very productive :D

The Church Cook said...

Oh,my goodness Christine! What beautiful dish! And to be careful on slippery ground! No snow here in Savannah, but much too cold for this Southerner.

Victoria said...

I love pate and this looks fabulous! I don't think I've had nuts in pate before, but I can imagine it adds a unique texture. This is a lovely presentation as well, and would be perfect for hosting guests :) We got lots of snow in RI too (I'm still visiting my family) but was shocked when I saw the impact it had in NY! Like the poor people who got stuck on the A train for 7+ hours without heat, food, or bathrooms!! Insanity. Glad you are safely indoors, and please stay that way till they clean up the streets, haha.

Ravenous Couple said...

this looks great..will have to look into marsala..always used cognac w/ ours...amazing photo of the snow, hope you're having fun during snow-in!

Sherry said...

I have tasted this pate and absolutely love it! LOTS of snow, huh?

tasteofbeirut said...

I adore this pâté, as all liver pâtés, even though I simply don't like plain old liver, especially the way Lebanese folks eat it, which is raw!
I imagine the city is wonderfully quiet with that blanket of white spendor.

Cristina said...

Hi Christine: I admit, I've not had chicken liver before, but it's not to say that I wouldn't try it.

Your gorgeous pâté image would have me digging right in before realizing it was "liver" - it looks so good! ;)

All that beautiful snow. Will the snow look like that at the end of January too? I'm suppose to travel out that way end of Jan. and debating to reschedule till March.

Have a very safe and happy New Year's!!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I've always wanted to make my own pate, but have never tried it. Perhaps a good project for 2011. Stay warm - the snow is destined to melt, eventually.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This sound good and it is a nice spread on toast. Happy New Year to you and all at home.

Cathy said...

What a scrumptious pate, Christine. I can't think of a more delicious and elegant appetizer, perfect for ringing in the New Year.

~Lisa~ said...

Well when I hear those word the first thing that comes to mind is, a iron rich delicacy. Are you craving this? The snow totally missed us. We got a dusting. Hope you're staying warm.

A Canadian Foodie said...

I am with Claudia on this one. Beautiful pate. This is the only way I like chicken liver, and I love my homemade pates!

Katy said...

Boomarked! You are a lifesaver! I have been looking at pate recipes but wanted one from a trusted blogger. I am bringing this to the family NYE festivities. Thank you so much!! Happy New Year to you. Hoping that all your dreams and hopes come true.

Stella said...

Hey Christina, my Dad always loved chicken livers & one of the first restaurants I worked for served organic, grilled chicken livers speared on a stick of rosemary and served with a homemade onion jam. So I've always thought of chicken liver as a nice, rich treat.
Your pate from 'Delicious Days' looks wonderful. I bet it would be so nice over warm crusty bread:)
Happy New Year, Christine.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

While I adore pate, I've never tried making it at home. I've got to give this a try!

Tasty Trix said...

I think my initial reaction would have been "chicken liver, not so much" until you pointed out that it's in banh mi ... which I love, love, love. Now that I'm eating meat again I'm on quite the protein rampage and so I believe I would love this - the photo alone sells it. Good that you're staying in, you certainly don't want to slip, and as I recall the subway steps can be treacherous in this weather. Happy New Year!!

La Table De Nana said...

It looks stellar!Big fans here:) Happy New Year to you~

kat said...

Yum yum yum! My parents brought a version of this for the holidays & we woofed it down!

Pam said...

Your pate sounds delicious, liver and duck fat! It's a great appetizer, Christine! We've had a lot of snow but you've definitely had more than your share. Bring spring on!

Namitha said...

This looks wonderful..and I loved the pistachios in this ;-) Hope you had a wonderful X'mas

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This version with the pistachios sounds wonderful! I personally love chicken livers. When I roast a chicken and save the roasted livers for myself ;)

You were so wise to stay in from that mess!

Chiara said...

this looks tasty Christine! have a wonderful 2011, kisses...

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I love the nutty topping!!!!!!!! And this year I'll be making pates and rillettes and all things french! LOL

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

I don't like often the word liver in my menu, but you mention âté - I'm in, so my feeling is mixed ;)
Pâté with porcini and pistachios wow - what a genial idea and yummy too!

Happy New Year!! :)



Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

We love chicken livers and I really like the pistachios and Marsala wine you've added.

Stay warm. That's a lot of snow for December.

Reyes Briones said...

Just discovered your blog - your subjects are my favorites...FOOD AND NYC!

Looking forward to your posts in 2011!!!!!!!

Table Talk said...

My grandfather used to make pate for the holidays and I would eat it as a child, like you, not knowing what it was. I just knew it was delicious. Adding pistachios and marsala to the pate is even better!
Hope you are hanging in there with the snow--a little is okay. That much gets old ...quickly.
Wish you a very Happy New Year!

OysterCulture said...

This is taking sinfully good to the next level. It looks simply amazing! I made pate last year, and I may have to start a tradition next year, if I do not decide to do it say for Valentines. I'm going to have to check out this blog you mentioned. Sounds just divine.

I hope you are doing well and not going crazy with all the snow. Sending happy thoughts your way. Its raining in this part of sunny California, so you are not missing too much.

Catherine said...

Happy New Year to you dear!
This looks wonderful. It sounds like a delicious spread. I think the chicken liver sounds very good, I love chicken livers. But I never think to make them.
You've renewed my interest!

nancy at good food matters said...

Hi Christine--I must confess that I grew up regarding chicken livers at the "oh, no--yuck!" side of the spectrum, and have slowly come to embrace their delectability---when properly prepared. The Delicious Days recipe has all those elements---love the addition of pistachio for a toasty texture change-up.

Best wishes going into the new year! Nancy

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I've had chicken liver pate before that was amazing. But for some reason it's not something I would make at home. I don't know why. Your dish looks and sounds wonderful!

Enjoy the last two days of 2010, and have a wonderful and happy 2011!

Magic of Spice said...

What a gorgeous pate!
And wow with all of that snow...a long time friend/sister was here in CA for Christmas and ended up stuck here an extra day due to the storm :(
Wishing you a save and warm New Years Eve, and a happiest of New Years!

My Taste Heaven said...

omg...that looks so amazing! oh and the snow so thick!

happy 2011 to you! god bless xx

Unknown said...

I have never seen chicken liver look that pretty before, simply beautiful!
As much as I love NY, I wouldn't want to be there right now. I never enjoy myself in the cold.
*new Year's kisses* HH

Sacha said...

Christine thank you for your good wishes I wish you much fun with a happy new year that 2011 brings you happiness, joy and health and sees the realization of your dreams
Thank you for this delicious recipe

Deana Sidney said...

We did get dumped on, didn't we??? O couldn't get out for 2 days... staying in was a good thing though... got a lot done and now I find your wonderful recipe! How gorgeous is that green topping?? Pistachios are great in pate and this is a great combination of flavors. Happy New Year Christine!

El said...

You always come up with the most sensational recipes. Fantastic!

I hope you have a joyous New Year!

chow and chatter said...

wow impressive pate stay warm and happy new year


Karen from Globetrotter Diaries said...

I love pate, fell in love with it in France. This recipe looks delicious! First time on your blog and really love it-- will be following you!!

Velva said...

Look at the NYC snow!!!! It's beautiful. I know it was a challenge for the city to clear out that snow from the streets. I am hoping that was in your benefit and you were able to stay home and enjoy the snow a little longer.

Growing up we ate liver a lot( fried liver and onions). Once I figured out what your liver did for a living, I shunned it. That has since changed because I discovered that I enjoy liver pate... No doubt yours would be delicious.

Happy New Year to you! I hope that you are feeling well and looking forward to the amazing year you are going to experience.


mr. pineapple man said...

thats a lot of snow! happy new year!

Gloria Baker said...

OMG I know about you had a lot snow! Is nice for Christmas, and I hope you are OK! and hope you had a lovely Christmas and a nice New Year, all the best for 2011, gloria

ChefDruck said...

Well you've done it. You've managed to make chicken liver pate look absolutely mouth watering and delicious. No small feat! Thank you for sharing this interesting recipe. I'll definitely be trying it soon.

And I'm about to post a review of Blue, an Eric Ripert restaurant in Grand Cayman and I'll be linking to your review of Le Bernardin with those great shots.

Happy new year!


Sutapa said...

Love liver pate and the combo of pistachios and duck fat make it irresistible!
Wishes you a Bright, Happy and Prosperous New Year 2011 with God Bless.
Love always.

Barbara said...

My daughter missed the snow 'cause she was down here but is going home today. Imagine it's all melted by now!

I adore chicken livers...and marsala is a perfect match with it. Your recipe looks especially good...copying it now.

Wishing you a lovely new year. It's going to be an exciting one for you!

Erica said...

That looks beautiful!!!!I love chicken livers...That sounds amazing!