Several weeks ago my token hostessing friend in LA decided to gather the extended crowd together for a Friendsgiving celebration potluck. (yes, this post epitomizes the #latergram-ness of my holiday documentation). The Google+ invite immediately exploded with dibs on dishes everyone wanted to bring, and the universal claim that each invitee’s family stuffing recipe was the best. Despite my solid—and completely correct—belief that my own mother’s stuffing is, in fact, the best in the world, I took the opportunity to try a dish I’d never made before but that had been on my To Try list for many months: pâté.
My parents’ long-time neighbor and friend, and my own frequent inspiration for many of my side dishes, had served the Silver Palate’s chicken liver pâté at a Christmas party the year before and ever since I had wanted to give it a try. I followed the Silver Palate recipe to the letter (at least the way it is printed here, as my print copy was in a box in Oregon) with the one addition of a handful of roughly chopped pistachios along with the currants. This was in honor of my favorite chicken liver mousse from Viande Meats which, for all you Portlanders, can still be found at City Market and should not be missed.
I served this pâté next to spiced sweet potato hummus for the vegetarians in attendance and both were extremely well received. The hummus recipe is also below, but due to my poor timing and the considerable lack of light hours in November the photos really don’t merit their own post… But then I’m a visual cook.
Also a quick note on brandy: I’m told that calvados is the ‘secret ingredient’ of this recipe and what many adherents swear by as the reason this pâté is so delicious. So if at all possible, don’t substitute the calvados!
Silver Palate Pate with Pistachios
2 ribs of celery, with leaves
6-8 whole peppercorns
6 cups water
pinch of salt
1lb chicken livers
pinch of cayenne
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup calvados
½ cup (or a little less) dried currants
¼ cup (or a little more) roughly chopped pistachios
Boil the celery and peppercorns in the water. Add salt and lower to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add livers and simmer very gently for another 10 minutes. The livers should still be slightly pink on the inside.
Drain and remove livers to a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients except currants (and pistachios if using). Process until very smooth.
Scoop into a bowl and mix in currants and pistachios. (I saved a few of each to press into the top) smooth top, cover with saran and chill for about 4 hours.
Before serving, allow to rest at room temp for about 30 minutes. Makes about 3 cups of very rich, creamy pâté.
Bonus Recipe: Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus!
I also served a slightly modified version of this Sweet Potato Hummus from Vegetarian Ventures.
Her photos are infinitely better than mine and make me want to rush out and buy a box full of these swing-top jars for my kitchen adventures.
I just used a can of chick peas and doubled all the spices (my general rule of thumb, especially with hummus) and sprinkled a little extra cinnamon on top to serve. Delish!