Each month brings a new challenge (e.g. duck prosciutto, salt curing), and a new roundup of the best posts -- which we'll feature on Food52. Charcutepalooza will culminate in a competition offering an amazing grand prize (details here). You can see a list of past challenges here, read the rules here, and see a list of the bloggers who've signed on here.
See Cathy's announcement of September's challenge: Packing, here. Read on below for Kim's quest to get her kids to eat chicken liver (and like it), plus a roundup of the best posts in August's challenge: Binding.
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Chicken Liver Paté
This month's Charcutepalooza challenge is packing - and that means paté.
I love paté of all kinds, so does David, but as we get further into the challenges, I struggle more and more with what I can make - dishes that work with the rules of Charcutepalooza and ones that my kids will eat. It never pays for me to make anything that only half the family will eat, which is why I never make headcheese, or stuffed trotters. We were great through sausages, and bacon, and we flew through brining, and somehow I managed to inspire them to eat a shrimp terrine last month, but loaves of compressed meat were going to be a hard sell even on a good day.
Could I make a paté that the whole family will eat?
I knew that doing something rustic would never work - too many weird obtrusive pieces sticking out here and there, and forget inlaying a little meat surprise in the middle of the paté. That's the kind of weird science that would have me banned from the kitchen.
I decided on a paté that was smooth, spreadable, could be served without turning it out of the pot into a loaf. It could be sold to the children as a fun spread, the way almond butter is a fun spread. I went with my favorite paté of all time - chicken liver. It might take a few go-arounds, but I figured I could sell this.
Chicken liver paté is not just simple, it is also inexpensive, even if you are buying the best livers, from the best chickens, at the happiest farms, and it barely requires a recipe. In fact, I'm not going to give you one.
I'm going to just tell you to buy chicken livers - you won't need many of them, a little over a half pound of livers makes three small pots full - take them home to your kitchen, gently saute them in copious amounts of butter, onions, garlic, add salt and pepper, and handfuls of fragrant herbs, whatever beautiful herbs you've picked up at the market, let it all cook together about 5-6 minutes until the livers are not red, but a lovely pink inside, and add your favorite booze. I added tequila, but you can go right ahead and improvise, bourbon, cognac, it's all good. Heavy-handedness is mandatory here.
Put the boozed up livers in a food processor, give them a whirl or two, or ten, until you have a nice thick consistency, no solids, just something like a thick, thick shake. Check for seasoning and add some salt if you think it needs it. Pour the mixture into pots. Cover the top with a few sprigs of herbs and pour a little clarified butter over the top. Put pots in the fridge for a few hours until they set.
Serve a cold pot with toasted rounds of baguette, quartered figs, a hunk of good manchego, some slices of duck sausage, cornichons and if my kids are around, a few slices of star fruit and raspberries.
As of tonight, I am working at 50%. Lucy loved paté, slathered on toasts with side helpings of cheese and fruit. Edie just ate the toasts. But I take my victories as I get them. I'll be making this again, and I'll take another crack at her. Someday, even if it kills me, she'll love it, just as I do.
Here are our best-of picks for the binding challenge:
1. Chow Eng Down Tempura Head cheese
2. The Messy Epicure Saffron and Seafood Terrine
3. Artful Wish Chicken Liver Terrines with Shallots
4. Dabblings & Whimsey Chicken Liver Terrine with Chipotle and Raisins
5. One Vanilla Bean Chicken Liver Terrine & Home-made Ritz Crackers
6. Eat Live Travel Write Insane head cheese
7. Inspired By Wolfe Xiao long bao
8. Sensible Worlds The Big Two-Headed Hog Dish
9. Good For The Palate Toe Cheese (Trotters)
10. In Scott's Kitchen Scallop & Crab Mousseline Ravioli in Leek Brown Butter
1. Taste Food Blog Kale Wrapped Salmon and Scallop Mousseline with Tomato Coulis
2. Bona Fide Farm Parsleyed Ham in Aspic
3. A Cook Blog French dip bánh mì
4. Hounds in the Kitchen Almost All-Ohio Trout and Shrimp Mousseline
5. Naomaly Tip to Toe Terrine