Chicken Liver & Bacon Spread

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My brother Stephen had the misfortune to contract mononucleosis as a kindergartener. Poor Steve, sure. But from my childhood perspective, poor the-rest-of-us, too! Because armed with information on every iron-rich ingredient she could use to shore up skinny Steve, and apply as preventive medicine to everyone else at the dinner table, my Mom set forth on a cooking schedule that included lots of lentils, schooners of spinach and without fail, liver and onions. Every. Single. Week.  I can still see the big black skillet, layered with enormous lobes of calves liver, cooked beyond well to something akin to boot bottoms.  But mom’s methods worked. There were no more bouts with childhood mono. And mercifully, there were occasions when she made chicken livers instead of the beef. (Chicken livers and onions always tasted better to me, and were more likely to be accompanied by a little bacon.) Putting the best of those flavors together (chicken livers, onions and bacon), I like to make this easy potted spread. It’s a nice snack with crusty bread or crackers, some finely chopped onion, and a little chopped egg and parsley.

Makes 2 cups

Liver Pate Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds fresh chicken livers (you should have about 1 1/4 lbs when you are finished cleaning them)
  • 1/2 lb no-nitrate bacon
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp port
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • crackers or crispbread
  • chopped egg and onion garnish

Instructions

  1. Remove all connective tissue and any fat or veins from chicken livers and discard.
  2. On a baking sheet, spread bacon and oven-bake at 350 degrees until soft-cooked–don’t cook until crispy!
  3. In a saute pan, heat vegetable oil and cook finely minced onion until very soft and translucent
  4. Add cleaned chicken livers to pan and cook over low heat until livers have just about lost all pinkness. Add port and continue simmering another two minutes or so until livers are just cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Using a food processor, process bacon. Add liver and onions and pulse until very smooth.
  6. Spread paste in two crocks, cover with plastic wrap you have sprayed with a little oil, and refrigerate until firm.
  7. Serve pate with your favorite crackers or crisp bread and a little onion, chopped egg and even tiny capers, if you like.

 

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