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Chicken Liver Pate Recipe

Chicken Liver Pate

Pate is one of life’s great luxury food items, it is also ridiculously cheap and easy to make.

This is my own recipe for pate, it has been cobbled together over a few years of trial and error, and a love of good pate. The recipe is quite forgiving and allows for quite a lot of substitution and variance. While it is very easy to make, you will need a good food processor and maybe a bit of patience as it can take a lot of processing to get a smooth pate.

Finding good quality fresh and well cleaned chicken livers can sometimes be a challenge, but most good butchers will have them. Our local butcher sells them frozen by the half kilo tub  for $5 which is quite expensive for chicken livers but they are much better quality than you can find in a supermarket.

Chicken livers should be a light pinkish – to dark purple colour with little or no white connective tissue on them. They should not have any hint of yellowing.


500g Chicken livers.
1 small onion very finely diced. Substitute small brown shallots for sweetness.
120g of salted butter.
A small amount of finely diced bacon (no rind) or very finely shaved pancetta (about a tablespoon if compressed, shown in photo).
2 tablespoons of Cognac, or Port.
Approximately 1/3 of a cup of fresh cream.
1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice.
1 teaspoon of thyme, fresh or dry is fine, use slightly less if dried).
1/2 teaspoon of sage fresh is best, but dry works
1 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
1/2 teaspoon of cracked black  pepper.
1/8 teaspoon of salt more if needed.





Rinse the livers under cold running water, and remove any white or connective tissue. Drain on some kitchen towel.

< Connective tissue removed from the chicken livers.


Cleaned and rinsed livers>






Heat butter in a large heavy based frying pan on a medium heat. Add onions and begin to cook off the rawness.

Once the butter and onions are sizzling add liver and cook without turning to the point that they begin to get some colour on the under side (very light golden brown), about 5-7 minutes.




Turn the livers over and add the bacon, garlic, herbs and spices cook  for a further 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the livers. Turn the heat down and continue to cook on a gentle heat until when broken up with tongs the livers are only just barely pinkish inside, the livers should be soft and should come apart easily if pressed with tongs. Set the pan aside to cool a little.




>This is an example of a perfectly cooked chicken liver, it is only just pink in the middle and breaks apart easily with light pressure from the tongs.


To a food processor add a couple of tablespoons of cream, this will help to blend the pate more smoothly. Add the liver and onion mix to the food processor and begin to coarsely blend, stop the processor regularly to scrape down the sides (and to prevent the motor getting too hot and burning out), if the mix is too dry add another tablespoon or so of cream. I found a stick blender worked better than my food processor and gave a much smoother finish.


At this point add two tablespoons of Cognac or a good tawny port and blend through. continue alternating between blending and scraping down the sides of the processor, adding tiny amounts of cream to keep the mix blending smoothly.


Once the mixture is nearly smooth, taste a little of it and add the salt if needed. The salt improves the flavour and removes some of the strong flavour of the liver. Add pepper and slightly more alcohol if needed. Add extra alcohol sparingly as it can overpower all the other flavours. Process until very smooth, the pate should not have a grainy texture, and the herbs and pepper should be small enough so as not to impart any noticable texture.

Pate should be silky smooth and velvety, never grainy or lumpy the only way to achieve this is with patient processing or by forcing the mix though an ultra fine sieve; I don’t recommend the sieve as it will take you forever, a very good stick blender does work well.

Spoon the pate into ramekins, smooth off the surface with the back of a spoon. If the pate is not going to be eaten that week cover with melted clarified butter to seal the pate.

Place in the fridge until the butter cap hardens then cover with cling film, this way the pate will last in the fridge for up to two weeks (most likely a lot longer) or in the freezer for a few months.

To serve remove the butter cap and allow the pate to warm up to slightly below room temperature which will make it more spreadable.

*Wait for the pate to be cool completely before eating it, hot pate does not taste especially great and should serve only as a guide for seasoning the final product.


Herbs and spices like bay leaves and chives and green peppercorns can be substituted or included to suit your taste. Bacon or smoked ham can be substituted for pancetta and different alcohols can also be substituted; brandy, sherry, muscat, port, red or white wine and champagnes work quite well.

Chicken breast or thigh can replace half of the liver. The regular meat needs to be cooked a little longer than the liver and is harder to process to a smooth pate, but it provides a lighter flavour that works well with champagne or dry white wine, bacon and green pepper corns.

Experiment and have fun!

Permanent link to this article: http://onefrowningredhead.com/recipes/chicken-liver-pate-with-cognac


  1. Samantha

    Hi there, i made your recipe for melting moments, all went well untill i came to press through my Marcato press.. well they wouldnt lol.. gosh what a mess.. what do you think i could have done wrong .. i did mix in my kitchen Aid for a long time, did i mix for too long ?. So i rolled into balls and just pressed lol.. but they are a lovely flavor i would so like to get them through my press.
    From one redhead to another.

  2. Susan

    I made the pate but it is way too dry. How can I restore some of it’s moisture!???

  3. onefrowningredhead

    Add more cream slowly as you are blending the mix 🙂

    Hope this helps

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