Recipe: Chicken liver pâté with Monbazillac gelée

Total time: About 2 hours, plus overnight chilling time

Servings: 12

Note: From Donna Deane. Monbazillac is available at many fine wine shops.

2 eggs

3 cups homemade chicken stock or good-quality commercial chicken broth

1 pound chicken livers

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy

1 ( 1/4 -ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin

3 tablespoons Monbazillac

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

3 chives

1. Clarify the stock or broth: Break the eggs into a small bowl, saving the shells. Remove the egg yolks; they can be kept covered in the refrigerator for another use. Pour the stock into a medium saucepan, and add the egg whites and reserved shells, whisking the contents thoroughly. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring gently but constantly. Reduce the heat so the stock barely simmers; stop stirring and cook an additional 15 minutes. The eggs will coagulate to form a "raft," drawing impurities from the stock. Remove the pan from the heat and gently push the raft down to ladle out the stock; be careful not to disturb the raft and cloud the stock. Discard the raft. Measure the amount of stock; you will need 1 3/4 cups. If you have more than 1 3/4 cups, return it to a clean saucepan, simmer and reduce. Set aside.

2. Rinse the chicken livers under cold water, and pat dry on paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and sizzling. Add the chicken livers and sauté until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, stirring until the onions are tender and browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat if the onions start to brown too quickly. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Place the chicken livers and onions in a food processor. Add one-fourth cup of the chicken stock to the skillet, moistening the bottom of the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan and pour the stock and drippings into the food processor. Add the Worcestershire sauce, paprika, nutmeg, salt, pepper and Cognac. Purée until smooth.

4. With the processor running, add the remaining butter piece by piece through the feed tube, and continue to process until all the butter has been incorporated. This makes slightly more than 2 cups of pâté.

5. Pour the liver pâté into a 3-cup oval casserole. Chill it in the refrigerator, uncovered, until it sets up and is firm, about 1 hour. Once the pâté is set, cover the casserole with plastic wrap, pulling it tight over the top of the dish so it does not touch the pâté and refrigerate overnight.

6. Place one-fourth cup of the chicken stock in a small bowl. Drizzle the powdered gelatin over the stock to moisten and soften the gelatin. Pour 1 1/4 cup of chicken stock into a small saucepan, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Pour the softened gelatin into the pan, stirring or whisking constantly until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.

7. Pour the gelatin-infused stock into a small metal bowl, and stir in the Monbazillac and lemon juice. Put the bowl over another bowl filled with ice water to cool the mixture. Stir gently until the gelatin just begins to thicken but is not yet set. Immediately remove the bowl from the ice water bath.

8. Remove the pâté from the refrigerator and decorate the top of it with the chives. Gently spoon about one-half cup of the gelatin mixture over the top in an even layer. Place the pâté back in the refrigerator and chill until the gelée is set, about 45 minutes.

9. Pour the remaining gelée into a shallow glass dish and chill until it is set.

10. When you are ready to serve the pâté, place the pâté dish on a platter. Coarsely cut or chop the gelée from the shallow glass dish into half-inch cubes and spread them around the pâté on the platter. Serve with crisp toasted French bread.

Each serving: 166 calories; 9 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 13 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 191 mg. cholesterol; 170 mg. sodium.

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