Chicken, Apple and Cognac Pate: Not Your Bubba's Chopped Liver

April 13, 2016
Chicken, Apple and Cognac Pate: Not Your Bubba's Chopped Liver

Author Notes: Chopped liver? No matter whose bubba was making it, I grew up visiting friends and saying "No thank you." The smell alone- would drive me from my usual perch in the kitchen- to the sidewalk or playground. But as an adult, thanks greatly to The Silver Palate, I discovered that brandy, spices, herbs, and liberal amounts of butter- could change that reviled ingredient into a creamy spread of deliciousness. With cues from New England and France, my very easy pate features apple, shallots, cognac, allspice and thyme. It comes together very quickly and, while I have tried iterations, I am happiest with my original.LE BEC FIN

Makes: 6 cups


  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lb. chicken livers, connective tissue removed
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, skin-on; core and seeds removed
  • 4 ounces shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic, minced
  • 6 Tablespoons cognac (I like St. Remy)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, rubbed between your palms to release flavor
  • 1/2- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces soft unsalted butter
In This Recipe


  1. Spray a 6 cup mold, fluted brioche tin or loaf pan. Fit into it a large piece of clear wrap, pushing to adhere to all the corners. Spray the plastic wrap. Set aside the form.
  2. Mince the apple in the food processor. Saute the shallots and garlic in the 2 ounces butter til soft. Add the chicken livers over medium heat and cook, turning, 6-10 minutes til livers are cooked but still slightly pink inside. Transfer the pan contents to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients except butter; puree thoroughly. Add butter, a gob at a time and puree til smooth, scraping down the processor bowl from time to time. Taste the pate. Adjust the seasoning.
  3. Pour the pate into the form. Rap on the counter to remove air bubbles; smooth the top. Chill in the refrigerator til set; cover with plastic wrap and let flavors ripen up to ~ 5 days.
  4. Before serving, remove plastic wrap cover. Place the serving plate over the form and flip the pate onto the plate. Remove the remaining plastic wrap and garnish the pate.

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