European French Recipes Winter

Chicken Liver Pâté

So, it seems as though the time has come to accept that Christmas is just around the corner. The idea of beginning to celebrate a public holiday more than a couple of weeks in advance of its arrival has always sickened me somewhat. Alas, these days the build-up to such events begins before the preceding holiday. It has reached the point at which we always seem to be celebrating something; there should be a law which restricts the sale of themed paraphernalia to its relevant month. There is a distinct possibility that we shall soon be celebrating Christmas a year in advance.

However, there are some benefits which arise due to my reluctant acceptance of the holiday season; one of them being delicious Christmas-themed recipes. There can be no denying that the month of Santa really is the ultimate period of self-inflicted gluttony and potentially damaging food related misdemeanours. As such, I shall bring you a small host of recipes traditionally followed during the latter 2-3 weeks of the year. Alas, my family recipe for Christmas pudding was going to grace the fold of FrugalFeeding, but it has been left a little late as there would be no time for them to mature. It’s a jolly good job that grandmother has made at least 5 of the little wonders already.

I must admit that this was the first time I had ever willingly cooked, or eaten, offal. However, the flavour of the chicken livers pleasantly surprised me. Of course, they have a slightly odd texture and perhaps aren’t something I’d want to eat whole, but when blended that hardly matters. The taste is not overpowering either, since the recipe contains more than a little cream and butter. This makes for a wonderfully smooth and elegantly tasty festive treat, perfect on crackers before or after one’s main meal. This pâté is also incredibly simple, making it an ideal recipe for Christmas morning.

Got some leftover liver hanging around? Check out my recipes for Duck Liver and Onions and Duck Liver on Toast…

Chicken Liver Pâté

Makes 3-4 small pots


• 200g butter

• 225g trimmed chicken livers

• 2 tbsp brandy

• 1 ½ tsp chopped fresh sage

• 1 clove of garlic

• 150ml double cream

• Salt and pepper


1. Melt 40g of the butter in a large frying pan. Add the livers and cook on a medium heat until browned all over, the inside should still be pink. Food process until they have the consistency of a paste.

2. Stir the brandy into the frying pan, scrape away any leftover liver from the bottom and add to the food processor along with the sage, garlic and 100g of butter, process until smooth. Add the cream and season well, process once more. Spoon the pâté into small pots and leave in the fridge to set.

3. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan, spoon it over the surface on the set pâté. Garnish each pot with a leaf of sage and return to the fridge in order to let the butter set. This is delicious served with a little melba toast.

Cost: As we all know, chicken livers are incredibly cheap. There seems to be some kind of cultural taboo surrounding the ingestion of offal, therefore it is not particularly popular. If something isn’t popular, it’s price will stay low. As such, 400g of chicken liver cost me around 90p, which was a complete and utter bargain. This meant that the entire recipe cost only £2 to make, not bad for something which sells for a premium in the supermarket.


58 replies on “Chicken Liver Pâté”

This cause me to smile rather large. Your method is a true “Southern” cooking. My mother used to prepared chicken liver this way when I was a young child. I have to admit I never acquired the love of chicken livers that she had 😉

Oops, on a rather bumpy train and pressed send before I meant to! Anyway, I won’t continue my rant, but like you, I do enjoy cooking for Christmas and this pate looks like a ‘must try’! A good option for a home made present too!

I love pate but I never get a chance to make it at home because I’m the only one who eats it…not that that’s a bad thing, just that much pate on a regular basis probably isn’t a good idea!

Offal is so under-appreciated. Whenever I brine a chicken I usually take the opportunity to throw in a package each of chicken livers, hearts and gizzards, then fish them out and freeze. The livers are delicious sauteed in butter and the hearts and gizzards are awesome tossed in bread crumbs and deep fried.

Funny thing, I’ve never related pate with Xmas, I guess it’s not the tradition where I come from. I do love it and used to have it at breakfast smeared on French bread.

Chicken Liver patè is a traditional plate here in Tuscany – they call it crostini neri (black spread) and I adore it. In Florence they add two special ingredients, which though may up the price, do add to the flavor. Chopped capers and anchovies!! Normally the Tuscans will take two to three day old bread, dip it in either chicken broth or better yet … brandy / vin santo – so as to soften the bread a little bit and then spread the patè. You will always find this on the table for each and every holiday and Sunday lunch.

My dad makes chicken liver paté every year at Christmas time – usually a “plain” version and a super-hot chilli one. I started to make it for an annual Christmas meal with friends a couple of years ago, and have developed my own cranberry, port and orange version which (though slightly sweet) is very tasty! I used duck livers this year, as I’ve been eating a lot of duck which comes with giblets etc. I can never understand how people so often throw the liver away when they get a whole bird like that!

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