read, cook, eat: Pate the Careless Way

March 17, 2014
Pate the Careless Way, adapted from Line Cook's Pate by Javier Huerta, photo by dduguay, all rights reserved

Pate the Careless Way, adapted from Line Cook’s Pate by Javier Huerta, photo by dduguay, all rights reserved

I aMAZed my colleagues Monday by bringing homemade pate into work. OK, a bit gauche to serve it to them at 10 in the morning (but they’re on the early shift so, really, it’s like half past lunchtime to you and me). Also possibly dodgy of me to confess that I’d never tried it before and hoped they lived to say whether they liked the peppercorns or hated the texture. But it all worked out.

Best part? It took half an hour from unwrapping the chicken livers. AND, it cost $2.58. Well, the chicken livers cost $2.58 (from grain-fed chickens, if you please). Plus the cost of half an onion, a mumble mumble of butter and the 1/4 cup of port left over from a recent dinner party. So let’s call it $5. Produced about 1.5 cups of pate. And my colleagues think I’m a fecking goddess who invented chickens so they could grow livers and make this all possible.

Bow down before me. Or better yet, click on this link right here for the nytimes’ adaptation of the original recipe from Javier Huerta, a brilliant line cook who works at the Brooklyn resto called Fort Defiance, gleaned from a piece by Sam Sifton in the New York Times Magazine back in January. I love this recipe because it’s dirty simple and it’s been passed around a lot. They’re the best kind, even if it means the results will slip and slide from time to time. It encourages the funnest part of cooking. Which in my case mostly means I read the recipe several weeks ago and didn’t check it closely enough when I whipped this up on Sunday. And you know what? Didn’t matter. So here’s my riff. Let me know if you come up with some fancy new twist, even if it comes from carelessness.

Pate the Careless Way

  • A styro flat of chicken livers or, if you’re in Montreal, gesier de poulet de grain
  • Half the large Spanish onion, diced, that you didn’t use making the terrible meatballs (wrecked because you added too much bread crumbs; too much? too many? anyway, ugh)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup port or whatever is left over from the dinner party
  • Dash of dried thyme
  • 3 T. 35 % cream
  • 1 tsp. green peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup dried sour cherries, chopped

Melt half the butter (or all the butter, if you’re being careless; it doesn’t seem to matter!)

Saute the onions over medium head until translucent, adding the chicken livers, thyme and port, turning to medium high, gently cooking until nicely brown on the outside and pinkish on the inside.

Toss the whole steaming mess into the food processor with the cream and, if you’re not me, the remaining 1/4 cup of butter. Pulse until smoothe. Taste. Salt, if you like, but don’t go crazy. Add the peppercorns and pulse exactly and briefly once so only a few smash up. Add in the dried cherries. Or I wish I had been able to find the secret stash of dried cherries, but next time I really will. They will make a wonderful contribution. Also, pistachios? Jeeves? Make a note.

Put the pate into the fancy ramekins you never otherwise use, the lid of which you will drop and ruin a perfectly good set and why did you bother anyway. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least two hours.

Serve with bread and I just about died after I added a blurp of blueberry jam. Killer. Fort Defiance recommends their bacon onion jam but we’re so over bacon, aren’t we? No? OK, here’s a recipe for that too. You people.


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