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Duck Liver Pâté

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This may not be as good as a true foie gras, but it’s similar enough in flavor for a dish that costs only pennies to make. Not only can the pâté be served on toast — it can also serve as a finish for a classic Beef Wellington or enhance a stuffing or a meat loaf.

Ingredients

Makes 1/2 cup, enough for about 16 toasts

3

ounces duck fat

1

large shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 1/2 tablespoons)

1

duck liver (about 3 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces

1

/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1

clove garlic, peeled and crushed

1

/4 teaspoon salt

1

/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1

teaspoon Cognac

16

1/4-inch-thick horizontal slices from a small baguette, toasted

Step 1

1. Place duck fat in a skillet, and cook over medium to high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the fat has melted and some of it has browned.

Step 2

2. Add the shallots, and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Add the liver, herbes de Provence, and garlic, and cook over medium to high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt and pepper.

Step 3

3. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the Cognac, and blend until liquefied. If a finer textured pâté is desired, push the mixture through the holes of a strainer with a spoon. This will yield 1/2 cup. Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours, then cover and and refrigerate until serving time.

Step 4

4. Spread the pâté on the toasted baguette slices, and serve. The pâté will keep, well covered, for 3 to 4 days.

Jacques Pepin’s Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine
Bay Books & Tapes, Inc.

How would you rate Duck Liver Pâté?

  • This pate is a cinch to make and the taste and texture are fantastic! I’ve made it twice now – once with duck livers and once with goose livers. I used pastured pork fat in place of duck fat both times. I reduced the liver:fat ratio to about 2:1 (12-16 oz livers:6-8 oz fat) and cooked the livers for about 5 minutes. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I blended everything in a Vitamix on high for about 40 seconds and did not need to strain it.

  • This is easy and delicious! Perfect use of a single duck liver. I only had 2 oz of duck fat, but it was fine anyway. Pressing the final, warm mixture through a strainer is strongly advised.

  • Great, easy recipe, made a full pound with chicken livers and duck fat. Only thing is I think it might be better if the livers were salted and broiled first and then just finished with the shallots/garlic/etc for the last minute. Might also experiment with different spirits like cognac to see how that changes the flavor.

  • Made this with duck liver that came with a whole fresh rohan. Wasn’t sure if it would have been good enough for torchon. This was much easier by far and the flavors were well balanced. I used a port instead of the cognac, but if I make it again, I might slightly increase the amount of port if I used port again.

  • I used turkey liver and half turkey fat/half butter because that’s what I had. I didn’t have any brandy and didn’t want to buy a bottle just for this so I added 1 tablespoon of cream. I was absolutely delicious. If you are impatient and don’t want to wait for it to chill, whisk it in a bowl set in ice water. Instant gratification!

  • I was originally going to make another recipe, but I realized after the initial step that I was missing some ingredients from the other recipe. TIP: The other recipe did say to cover the duck liver (while raw of course) in milk, and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours, which helps to reduce bitterness (and probably making it less livery as some complained about with this recipe). I think it really helped because after it was done it was perfect. I also made a few alterations with the recipe and I still thought it was excellent. I did not have a shallot, so I used half an onion. I used red wine instead of cognac, and butter instead of duck fat. Also I did not have the herbs. I toasted multigrain bread and cut it into 6ths. The flavor of the pate was perfect. I didn’t strain it and think it would’ve benefited from that (texture wise).

  • I was originally going to make another recipe, but I realized after the initial step that I was missing some ingredients from the other recipe. TIP: The other recipe did say to cover the duck liver (while raw of course) in milk, and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours, which helps to reduce bitterness (and probably making it less livery as some complained about with this recipe). I think it really helped because after it was done it was perfect. I also made a few alterations with the recipe and I still thought it was excellent. I did not have a shallot, so I used half an onion. I used red wine instead of cognac, and butter instead of duck fat. Also I did not have the herbs. I toasted multigrain bread and cut it into 6ths. The flavor of the pate was perfect. I didn’t strain it and think it would’ve benefited from that (texture wise).

  • Really good pate. I
    do think 3oz of duck
    fat was too much.
    I’ll use 1.5-2 oz
    next time – and
    there *will* be a
    next time. Also I
    do want to caution
    people to stick with
    the salt
    recommendation as
    written. I added
    some additional, b/c
    when warm, it didn’t
    seem adequately
    seasoned. Once
    cooled it flirted
    with being over
    seasoned. But of
    course that’s my own
    fault.

  • Great Pate… but make ahead and let the flavors (the garlic) mellow and meld over night.

  • So easy, so fast, great use of my leftover livers!

  • It was really good at first, while still warm, but after it cooled it was really strong tasting. Too liver-y. But I ate it anyway.

  • This is SOOO good. I will be making this regularly. Takes no time at all and is insanely cheap to make. Make this dish!

  • This is an amazing recipe — insanely simple, fabulous results. I was a bit nervous when i put the shallots in the fat and they browned immediately, but it didn’t seem to affect the finished product. Blending the mixture gives it a perfect consistency. I, personally, love duck liver and I had approx 3 lobes on hand, so I just used all of them, keeping the rest of the recipe as written. It was lovely.
    My next batch will have a sweeter fortified wine, as I think a little sweetness would make this recipe sing even more beautifully. Thanks, Jaques!

  • This is a no-fail, perfect pate for
    the time-challenged. I have
    literally made this a dozen times
    and it continues to be a huge
    success. I’ve even made it faster
    (don’t squeal to M. Pepin!) by
    placing the cooked mixture in a
    bowl, placing it in a larger bowl of
    ice water and whipping it with a
    hand-held immersion beater until it
    is beautifully smooth…and
    completely chilled. Phenomenal.
    Can’t go wrong with this one.

  • This pate is exceptional! I was
    making duck confit — which won’t be
    ready for another two days — so I
    made the pate to go with french
    bread and an onion soup made from
    the duck stock blended with a rich
    home-made chicken stock. Fabulous
    French Cafe supper!I have never had
    a problem with a Pepin recipe so I
    followed this one exactly. Try it,
    you’ll love it!

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