Chicken or Beef Liver Pâté Recipe (with pictures!)
You can make this recipe with any liver including deer & pork. You can also add hearts and/or mix livers. Updated 9/10/23
Liver is a superfood and Adele Davis knew it a long time ago!
"Natural sources of the vitamin-B complex, such as liver and yeast, appear to contain all the vitamins of the group both known and unknown. Not all of these have been made chemically. There is much evidence that several others exist. These vitamins which have not been made chemically can come only from natural foods." - AdeleDavis.org
My mom took Adele's advice to heart and served us liver and eggs for breakfast in our teens, along with 36 vitamins and a disgusting smoothie made with brewer's yeast. Honestly, it was not a good time.
Fast forward a few years — like 35 — and I discovered the Weston A Price Foundation, real food and the liver files. Liver and onions cooked in bacon fat quickly became a favorite of ours. (Here's another great liver recipe!)
Then, my adoring fabulous-cook husband introduced me to his pastured heart and liver pâté. It's a whole new ballgame, folks. We make it with chicken hearts when we have access — uh-mazing.
Lucky in Kentucky, we do have regular access to delicious pastured chicken and beef liver! Liver pâté is on our menu every couple of months. It's so simple to make -- we started with this recipe from Nourishing Traditions and have branched out from there, current recipe version below. I just made it tonight, here's how.
That’s beef liver — OMG, so good!!! PS. Beef liver tends to have gristle so unless you already LOVE beef liver pâté, you might want to stick with chicken to start.
You’ll notice lots of leeway in amounts. You can hardly go wrong with this when it comes to ingredients. The only way pâté does not work is if it’s not smooth enough (so blend, baby, blend). You don’t want bits of gristle in it. (You’ll see the cure for gristle below.)
2 lbs beef or chicken or pork liver, rinsed well (I’ve never made pork liver but have heard it’s amazing as well.)
1 to 2 C FAT: butter, ghee, lard, tallow or combo (we use ghee or butter because we always have it!) There is not a “specific” place to add this, you’ll be cooking in the fat and adding it as you process. Be generous.
1/2 C sherry — if no sherry on hand, you can use dry white wine or red wine or vermouth or Kombucha… it’s all good :)
1.5 C heavy cream
Whisper of vanilla (like maybe 1/8th tsp for 2 lbs liver)
Juice of 1/2-2 lemons (to taste basically)
1 T ~ fresh Thyme (dried works too)
1 T ~ fresh Rosemary (ditto)
1-2 t salt, to taste really (we use this salt)
1-2 t pepper, same
They all get blended so chop however you like, smaller cooks quicker :)
1-1.5 lb mushrooms, sliced/chopped including the stalks
2 T Garlic (we use organic pre-minced, but 2-3 whole crushed works)
1 bunch of green onions (just the white tops with a little green) or 1 fairly large yellow onion, sliced or chopped
Saute onion on low till translucent.
Add in mushrooms and garlic, COOK LOW & SLOW so it does not burn or get crispy at all. You will probably have lots of water in the pan when the veggies are cooked — mushrooms produce lots of water. Below, you’ll reserve and set aside that liquid for processing.
Add spices and sherry to the pan, let cook for 10 more minutes to cook off the alcohol, and let the spices infuse.
Take the pan off the heat. Pour off excess water and reserve for blending.
Stir in cream and let the veggies cool down.
Once cooled a bit (can still be warm just not hot), add all this to the food processor, but do not process yet.
Warm up the same pan with a little fat
Add liver to pan & cook covered on low heat till just medium RARE
Add to processor
Add vanilla (a WHISPER) & lemon juice to taste
Blend till SMOOTH so don’t hold back on blending time. It will be gritty at first but keep blending. You’ll be adding extra butter, don’t be shy. You can sub in a little cream cheese here, too.
This should be a wet brew, like a thick cake batter and SMOOTH.
GRISTLE CURE: Do you need to STRAIN? If you think there’s gristle in it, then push thru a sieve. You can use a small ladle to help push that thru. This is time consuming and we only need to do with beef liver. Worth it.
Ladle into 1/2 pint containers, I put 8 ounces in each, makes 7-8
Place a sprig of rosemary or thyme on top
Cover with a little ghee & lemon
Set in fridge to firm up
Serve with bread, crackers, chips, celery, veggies... delicious!
Pâté Notes & Resources
Cuisinart Food Processor we have this one and have had it for so many years (at least 11), there is no model or cup measurement written on it! That said, any good quality food processor will do. If you don't have one yet, I recommend one with 600 watt minimum and a 7-Cup or bigger bowl. Less power makes getting a smooth pâté difficult (been there, done that -- we had a small food processor when we lived in Costa Rica). Lumpy pâté is not appealing. A smaller bowl just means having to process 2 or 3 batches.
Molds You want the containers airtight, particularly if you will serve in a social situation. Pâté can turn brown where the air hits it so the less air, the better when it comes to presentation. The butter layer on top helps this, too! Since we make for us mostly, we use glass containers with plastic lids and just keep transferring down to smaller containers. If it lasts long enough. The DOUBLE batch I made last night is half gone...
Presentation A slice of lemon curled & a sprig of rosemary… so pretty!!!
Plastic Lids Because I can be completely OCD about plastic, I will sometimes put a bit of parchment paper between the food and the lid. Plastic is evil.
Nourishing Traditions If you don't have the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, you must get it! It's only $17 and as much primer as cookbook. Plenty of detailed recipes and a wealth of knowledge on cooking, preserving and preparing real foods. You won't regret it for a second.
Click here to watch liver pâté videos on TikTok! Lots of good info and more ideas!
Bon appétit! xo Sally