Today’s post comes from Kitty over at Havenscourt Homestead. She graciously gave us some of this delicious pate this weekend to try out. I’m a fan of liver in general sauteed up with some garlic – yum! But if you don’t like eating liver you may still like pate.
Rabbit Liver Pate
Mention liver to most people and you’re bound to get one oftwo answers: YUMor ICK! In my experience, liver has had moreof an ick factor. I’m not sure why. I think it’s just a texture thing along witha very strong flavor. Or maybe it’s becauseI grew up with a father that loved to coat liver with flour and cook it withonions, then expect us children to eat that awful smelly stuff. What can I say? I was a kid. I didn’t like broccoli either.
Enter adulthood and I discovered pate. Mmmmm… Rich, smooth, creamy, deliciouspate. I immediately loved it. Little did I know it was basically my fathersliver and onions pureed and served cold with crackers. But pate is expensive in the store, so Ididn’t eat it too often.
Fast forward to my homestead. Now that I raise the bulk of my own meat, Ihave lots of liver. Putting it in thestock pot with the bones and such just seemed to be a waste. So I decided it was time to try my hand athomemade pate. Liver is verynutritious. It’s a good source ofThiamin, Zinc and Manganese, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A,Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, PantothenicAcid, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper and Selenium.
After searching the internet for recipes, I settled on onefrom Hoyt Archery. It seemed simple andcontained herbs that I like and had on hand. I especially liked that it called for soaking the liver in milk. I had heard that this made the liver muchbetter tasting. And I just happened tohave fresh raw goat milk in the refrigerator. Of course I also had 2-1/2 lbs of fresh rabbit liver, much more than therecipe called for. So I multiplied allthe ingredients by 2-1/2 and got down to it.
1pound liver 1 cup milk 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 bay leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup brandy
Place the liver and milk into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I actually let mine soak overnight. When you are ready to start cooking, put theliver in a colander and drain well.
In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat melt fourtablespoons of butter with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often,until they are soft and pale. You don’twant to brown them. Once the onions aresoft, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Again, do not brown it. You just want the wonderful aroma. This should only take a minute or two.
Carefully add the liver to the onions. Then add in your spices. This recipe uses thyme and bay leaves. But you could use just about any spice youlike. I tend to cut the salt in halfwhen I cook. I find that most recipesdon’t need as much as they call for. IfI feel something needs more salt when I’m done, it’s easy enough to season itafterwards.
Gently stir and sauté until the liver is browned on theoutside, but still slightly pink in the inside. I test this by simply slicing a bit of the liver using the slotted spoonI’m cooking with. At this point, Ithought it smelled wonderful. I wasready to grab a fork. I honestly don’tknow why I didn’t enjoy this aroma when I was a kid.
Once browned, remove the skillet from the heat. Pour on the brandy. Don’t forget to have a nip for yourself! Return the skillet to the heat and light thebrandy. *POOF* Flambé! What can I say? I’m a pyromaniac. I love to flambé! Besides, the flames only last for a minute orso until the alcohol is burned off. Butif you have guests that have never seen it, they’ll be most impressed.
Continue to cook until most of the liquid hasevaporated. The liver should be cookedthrough, but it should still be tender. Again, test it by slicing into it to make sure it’s brownthroughout. Remove the skillet from theheat and allow the liver and onions to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaves.
Carefully spoon the liver and onions into a foodprocessor. Depending upon the size, youmay have to do this in batches. Pureethe mixture until smooth. Cut theremaining butter into small pieces and add them to the pate. Pulse to blend. Don’t worry about over processing at thispoint. You want everything to be smoothand blended together.
Taste your creation. If you need to adjust any of the seasonings, now is the time to doit. Just be sure to pulse the mixture tomake sure any additions are thoroughly blended in.
Before packing your pate into a mold or other container, oilthe mold with a little olive oil. Thishelps to prevent it from sticking. Youcan also use plastic wrap. Since I had avery large batch, I used a 9” loaf pan. I lined it with plastic wrap and then used a paper towel to wipe theinside with olive oil. Next, cover thepate with plastic wrap, pressing it down onto the surface to eliminate as muchair as possible. Air will cause thesurface to discolor. This doesn’t hurtthe flavor or freshness of the pate. Itjust doesn’t look as nice. Pop it intothe refrigerator until it is firm, at least 6 hours.
One great thing about pate is that it freezes well. So if you’ve made a large batch like I did,simply slice it up, seal it, and freeze it. I have a vacuum sealer. If youare freezing any meats, I highly recommend buying one. It sucks all the air out of the package andseals it up perfectly for freezing. Imade each package about 4-5 ounces which is a good serving size forentertaining.
To serve, simply unmold it onto a plate and addgarnish. Pate is great with crackers,flat bread, or toast. Serve it with yourfavorite cheese and a glass of wine. Once you realize how quick and simple it is to make, you’ll never takepotato salad to a potluck again!
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