Quick Duck Liver Pâté
The countdown is on for the kitchen renovation and I AM EXCITED! We have booked the cabinet makers; chosen the appliances; nearly finalised the plans; we even have a date. Now all I need to do is work out what we are going to do while the kitchen is out of service. We have a camp stove we can cook on, so my plan is to make some tasty, winter comfort food that can be reheated for dinner. I’ll then freeze them in two person portions so when the time comes I can reheat quickly. The aim is to make dinners that take preferably one but no more than two pans to re-heat. So pasta sauce, stews and casseroles a plenty will be made.
There is one small problem with this plan. I’m a hoarder and my freezer is full. Full of random ingredients that I know I will use one day… So every now and then I have a week (or two) where I make it my mission to eat my way through those random odds and ends in the freezer. On this occasion one of the frozen parcels I discovered was some plump duck livers I bought at the markets.
I know offal isn’t to everyone’s taste. I am a bit partial, but it took a long time to persuade my husband to give it a go. A soft entry point for people who are not offal fans is pâté. I think a lot of people see pâté as a dish in it’s own right and don’t really think about what it’s made from.
There are many different ways to make pâté or parfait and some recipes are much more involved than others. If I’m making it for a special occasion I will puree and slow cook in a bain-marie or cook, puree, then pass through a sieve for a smooth, light finish. But pâté is not always for a special occasion; it can be a quick Saturday lunch. This recipe is not as refined as a pâté you would eat in a restaurant, it is more at home in a rustic, French kitchen. I like the result. It works; it’s quick and I’ve been making variations of this for many years.
Duck Liver pâté (serve 4)
200g duck livers
10ml olive oil
1 large garlic clove
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
salt and pepper
50g butter to seal (optional)
Trim the livers of any fat and sinew. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium high heat. Once the butter has melted add the livers and cook gently for five minutes, turning so they brown on all sides. Add the garlic to the pan after 4 minutes and let it fry a little but not burn.
Add the brandy and sage. Bubble for a minute to allow the alcohol to burn off. Transfer to a liquidiser and puree. Alternatively transfer to a beaker and puree with a stick blender. Once smooth, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a ramekin.
Once cooled the pâté can be eaten immediately. Alternatively you can melt the extra 50g of butter and pour on top of the pâté to seal. This will ensure you can keep the pâté for at least a week if not longer. The pâté must be eaten within a couple of days once the butter seal has broken.