After my brother got mononucleosis as a kindergartner (how does that happen to a five-year-old?) Mom launched a relentless iron-rich dinner campaign: pots of lentils, schooners of spinach, endless platters of liver and onions. Every. Single. Week. I can still see the big black cast-iron skillet and enormous lobes of calves liver, cooked to boot-bottom toughness. Thank god there were days when she made chicken livers and bacon instead–delicious and so much more forgiving to her pan fry. This easy, potted pate puts the best of those flavors together, and has gone a long way in eradicating the less-lovely liver memories. It’s a nice snack with crusty bread or crackers–add onion slivers, and a little chopped egg, capers or parsley.
Makes 2 cups
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh chicken livers, cleaned of any fat, veins and connective tissues (you should have about 1 1/4 lbs when you are finished cleaning them)
- 1/2 lb no-nitrate bacon
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp port
- fresh cracked black pepper & sea salt
- crackers or crispbread
- chopped egg and onion garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Ensure that you have removed and discarded all connective tissue and any fat or veins from chicken livers.
- Spread bacon on a half-sheet pan in a single layer and oven-bake at 350 degrees until soft-cooked. Don’t cook until crispy!
- In a saute pan over low heat, warm vegetable oil. Add finely-minced onion and cook until very soft and translucent
- Add cleaned chicken livers to pan and continue to cook over low heat until livers have just about lost all pinkness. Add port and continue simmering another two minutes until livers are just cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse bacon until finely minced. Add liver and onions and continue to pulse until very smooth. Season with plenty of fresh cracked black pepper and a little sea salt, to taste. Pulse again to incorporate well.
- Spoon paste into two crocks, cover with plastic wrap that you have sprayed with a little vegetable oil, and refrigerate until firm.
- Serve pate with your favorite crackers or crisp bread and a little onion, chopped egg and tiny capers.