Winter Spring Summer Fall Chicken Mousse

By • March 4, 2011 • 72 Comments

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Author Notes: I've been making this heavenly thing for about 30 years. The Grand Marnier was an incredible indulgence for a poor graduate student, so at first I only prepared it for the most special of special occasions, usually the winter holidays. Over time, I've tweaked this and that, with the most recent tweak being the addition of capers. Their tartness balances nicely with the cognac's sweetness. I also now make it year-round. It's as lovely on a spring evening with Prosecco as on a winter's night with a deep Syrah. Its flavors are best when made at least a day or two before serving. - boulangereboulangere

Food52 Review: When we tasted boulangere's heady, silken paté, we immediately understood her recipe title: this is one of those rare dishes you'd be happy to serve -- and eat -- all year long. It has classic components (aromatics, butter, cream and booze), but boulangere pulls it all together in her own way. She uses Grand Marnier, playing off the underlying sweetness of the chicken livers, and later offsets this by incorporating briny capers, which we found to be a stroke of genius. She flames the liqueur to soften its punch, and she's not shy with the butter: the onions, garlic and thyme essentially confit in a layer of simmering butter, making for an extra supple and rich mousse. And isn't that the point with paté, after all? - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, fine dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of connective tissue
  • 4 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. When foam has gone, add onion with a pinch of salt and sauté until softened. Add garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken livers and cook until just until they are still a bit rosy on the inside, about 5 minutes. Add Grand Marnier and set aflame to burn off the alcohol quickly so that the chicken livers do not overcook. Remove pan from heat when flame subsides, and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  3. When cool, transfer the mixture to a food processor. Purée until completely smooth. Add cream and purée for one minute. Last, add capers and pulse to incorporate and to break up a bit. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn mousse into one or more ramekins or mold of your choice. Cover with plastic in contact with the surface and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Allow mousse to sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving, as the flavors will be more pronounced. Serve with crostini gently doused with olive oil and toasted alongside a good Dijon-type mustard.
Jump to Comments (72)

Tags: can be made ahead, Easy, Holidays, savory, travels well

Comments (72) Questions (4)

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Astafford

about 1 month ago Alexandra Stafford

I made this on Thursday at a cooking class I was teaching on "making the most of a whole chicken." We tasted it warm, and it was very tasty, but of course not as delicious as when it has completely cooled — oh my! It is SO good. Everyone went home with a little jar of it. I am so excited to treat my family to it next Wednesday. They are going to be in heaven! Thank you.

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about 2 years ago lydiabee

Looks delicious! I'd like to make it for a Thanksgiving appetizer. How do you think this would taste if made with cognac, brandy or sherry?

Stringio

about 3 years ago aidangilbert

I couldn't reconcile the orange with the liver, so I made this using Scotch instead of Grand Marnier and used fresh savory because I had it. The Scotch was perfect with the earthy liver. I plan to make this again for Revillion.

Stringio

about 3 years ago aidangilbert

I couldn't reconcile the orange with the liver, so I made this using Scotch instead of Grand Marnier and used fresh savory because I had it. The Scotch was perfect with the earthy liver. I plan to make this again for Revillion.

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wow, scotch will certainly take it in a different direction, but I imagine the earthiness of it is fantastic. Thank you for sharing your invention, and Bonne Année!

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Made this for a party last night. It's really delicious, and most every really liked it - only the vegetarians and avowed liver haters did not!! I used Cointreau in place of Grand Marnier. I was a little afraid after I put it together because it was pretty soupy, but it thickened up perfectly in the fridge.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

The array of foods you served is beautiful! Thanks for taking us all through your menu.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Is it bad that I'm eating the left over mousse on toast for breakfast?? (I used 2 lbs of chicken liver so I have enough for the party plus some left over!!)

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Good heavens, I've been known to eat it straight out of the ramekin off the tip of a knife. Sounds amazing on toast!

Mypicture_2

over 3 years ago Frantasticfood

Looks absolutely delicious. I'm a chopped liver maker, and always make a batch for our Passover seder, but the smooth creaminess of this mousse looks heavenly and I'm going to have to make it this year.

Alas, there won't be any crostini ... it wouldn't be on a Passover table, but the mousse is going to be GREAT on matzo. Thanks for the great idea!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Ooooh, sounds great on matzo! Long ago and far away I had a Jewish boyfriend and though I've long since shed him from my life, I remain grateful for and fond of the culinary adventures I was exposed to. Please let us know how you like this!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

you are the winner that's my judgement

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You are so kind!

Stringio

over 3 years ago Elizabeth Kluvers

Where can one buy that fantastic container the mousse is displayed in??

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Unfortunately, probably nowhere. If you check out the photos in the About Amanda photos, you'll see that they are a cherished heirloom. I'm with you, though. The instant I saw the photo, I was on the trail . . . .

Barbara_davilman

over 3 years ago DAVILCHICK

I made this last night for a dinner party tonight and it is so ridiculously wonderful my husband and I decided to cancel the dinner party so we could stay home and eat it all ourselves. I'M NOT KIDDING. Who knew making such great dishes could be this fun and easy. THANK YOU!!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Well, I'm going to guess this is the good news, not the bad. And I am very happy that it made you so happy! Believe me, I know how it feels to dip in and not be able to stop. Thank you for your kind comment!

Me___cheris'_wedding_11.03.12

over 3 years ago emily_beamon

This looks delicious! Thank you!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I hope you enjoy it!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

YAY for you!

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over 3 years ago sarah k.

It was delicious! My husband (a recent liver convert) liked it, too. I had to teach him how to spread it nice and think, though. I wished that the Grand Marnier had a little more of a presence, though. I hope I didn't do it wrong!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Don't hesitate to use a little more next time.

Dscf2141

over 3 years ago foodfighter

Do you think this would be good without a pureed consistency? My wife loves chicken liver, but not the mousse texture.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

It's all a science experiment, so try it and see! What you might try, so you get at least some of the effect of the flavor blend is to just roughly pulse it in the food processor, without taking it all the way to a mousse.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

And then either let it sit at room temp for longer, or don't refrigerate it as long. Either would help with the textural issue (I have some textural issues of my own, you see). It is very kind of you to be so attentive.

Dscn3274

over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

I told you this was a winner...Congratulations! I'm out to buy liver and Grand Marnier!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

And pour a small toast to yourself, too!

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over 3 years ago pauljoseph

less ingredients and better flavor.Congrats on being a finalist!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

My philosophy in a nutshell - thanks so much, pauljoseph!

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I have never cooked a chicken liver in my life, so of course I don't eat them, because they have always been, to use your apt phrase (especially for someone who negotiates for a living), a "deal-breaker" for me. But that, I believe, is going to change. Any savory dish with equal (generous) parts of Grand Marnier and heavy cream has got to be delicious! I can't believe I'm saying this, but here goes . . . I'm going to try this!! ;o)

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Way to go, AJ! I'm with you - don't usually cook them, but I do like chicken liver paté or mousse. I will definitely be making this as the appetizer next time I have supper guests.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Be brave, ladies! I'm so proud of you!

Chris_in_oslo

over 3 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

I always buy my chickens whole, and if they come with giblets, I sometimes sauté the liver as a little treat for the cook. If you get good chickens (and I'm sure you do, AJ) the livers are great--even without the Grand Marnier!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Greenstuff, you are so much braver than I am! Bravo to you!

Buddhacat

over 3 years ago SKK

Boulangere, congratulations on being a finalist and having a recipe that actually had me love chicken livers! You are amazing!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, that's wonderful news! Thank you so much, SKK!

Steve_dunn02

over 3 years ago Oui, Chef

I'm not much of a liver person (with the exception of foie gras), but this dish sounds and looks so delicious that I can't wait to give it a try! Congratulations! - S

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I hope you will, and I also hope you'll let me know how you like it. Thank you!

Ashtaco

over 3 years ago wanderash

I'm sold! Congrats on being a finalist!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Please let me know how you like it, and thank you so much!

100_0933

over 3 years ago Eliana60

You're either a "loves liver" person or not and I am most definitely a liver person! I can't wait to try it. Thanks.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, isn't that the truth! I hope it meets your expectations, thanks!