I start every post with a photo. Another fact about this blog. No ads. Ok, another one. It’s not a site about recipes, It’s a journal. I write about my adventures in cooking and I share them. That’s how this blog started and that how it stays. One more, ok. As much as I bash on traditional cooking (I really don’t but I have had questioned it in many posts), I love traditional cooking and wish I could cook as deliciously as our beloved basque grandma. Ok, last one… even though there’s not a single post about spam on this blog, I love it. There it is, I said it. Deal with it. Unsubscribe. Do what you gotta do.
Talking about my grandma. Her kitchen included this old beat up gas stove that was terrifying to look at. As a kid… I would make fun of it and brag about my mom’s electric one… a futuristic device in comparison, right? Goes to show you how clueless this little kid was. I would take gas over electric any day now. Except for induction, but then again..maybe even over induction… fire is just WAY more fun.
Here’s the horror stove I was telling you about. What are those knobs for? I’m sure the red one opened the gates of hell.
Now that I got all of that out of my system, back to cooking.
Chicken livers. That’s the stuff of love… and hate. I love them otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it. Pates in general are for lack of a better descriptor a godsend. It’s fat at its best. Phat fat basically.
I usually don’t but I followed a recipe this time. I thought it would be a breeze. It almost kicked my ass. I love and follow chefsteps.com‘s every move. They offer so much great content in clever cooking that it is hard to resist reading their site. Their recipes and techniques are pretty awesome. This pate recipe is no exception. It’s a tough one but it’s so worth it for all you chicken liver lovers out there. Check their recipe here or continue reading for my rendition of it. With a few differences in ingredients… namely the booze… pretty much follows theirs pretty accurately. Thanks Chefsteps guys!
100g Bacon, ground.
200g Onion, small dice.
50g Shallots, small dice
100g White port, dry. I used red port sweet (don’t ask)
50g Apple Brandy (didn’t have any, used more of the other wines)
500g Chiken liver
200g 4 Eggs
2.5g Insta cure #1
0.5g Black pepper ground. (I used about 5g, I like pepper)
0.8g Sweet Spice. (I didn’t have any. Used dry thyme powder)
200g Clarified butter. (Clarified it myself)
Step 0. Measure the hell out of everything. Precision can be fun. Have everything ready. Including the water bath at the right temperature.
Step 1. Cook the bacon over medium heat until it develops some color and the fat renders. Add the onion and the shallots to the pan and cook until translucent. Add the booze. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from the stove and let it infuse for about 10 mins. Strain. Yield is about 200g. Personally, I don’t agree with this step myself. I would much rather pressure cook the onions and the bacon for about 20 mins and get all the flavour extracted. Reduce the booze on its own and make sure no alcohol is left .Combine booze and stock. Reduce until 200g. I feel like most of that awesome bacon flavour was left behind. But anyways. The result was still phenomenal so I should stop my whining for now. Reserve this concoction. Allow to cool.
Step 2. In a blender combine the rest of the ingredients (don’t add the butter yet, that’s what step 3 is for) plus the concoction from above. Blend until super smooth. Strain to make sure is even smoother. My blender isn’t big enough. I had to work in batches. Not as easy as it may sound.
Step 3. With the blender going, slowly add the liquid clarified butter, slowly to ensure a proper emulsified mix. You’re almost there.
Moment of hesitation during this laborious process. I wanted to drink the content of my blender so badly. Not because I’m some irrational carnivore. This liquid! It looked like the most delicious chocolate shake I’ve ever seen. Truly magical but it was raw blended chicken livers. I stopped myself and ignored the temptation.
Step 4. Here is where things got a little dicy. I couldn’t find mason jars. I couldn’t even find jars I could reuse. And I swear I never throw them out. My apartment is littered with old jars from stuff I buy at the store. They’re in my fridge containing food experiments. I used a ziplock bag. It’s fine. It’s gonna go in the sous vide bath anyways. Might as well. Remove the air the best you can. Cook for about 2 hours at 68C. Enough for the eggs to set and the mixture to pasteurize.
Step 5. Transfer to a plastic container or something more elegant. Refrigerate overnight. You can eat it right away but the mix needs to cool to properly set otherwise… runny delicious pate. Still awesome. I have a kilo of pate. It’s not even my birthday.
Told you I love spam: