Thursday, 10 December 2009
Chicken Liver Perfect
The temperature has dropped, port has been moved to the front of the supermarket shelves and there are pikeys on the corner flogging trees. Yes, it's almost Christmas and what gets me excited isn't the trash on the TV or scoffing Quality Streets in front of the fire, but all the food I get to eat. I'm going to gorge myself on cheese and crackers, sausage rolls and pates. Mince pies might get a little action but I'm going to hole myself up in my kitchen and consume.
I've been combing through my cookbooks lately. I've been trying to make a note of all the Christmassy food I want to eat. I thought I'd get the ball rolling with some chicken liver parfait. There are many different recipes for it knocking around, from Delia to Jamie and even Nigella, but I have found a favourite in Stephane Reynauds, Rippailles. This classical French cookery encyclopaedia has become more of a coffee table book in our house. Full of mini profiles on producers and quirky illustrations, it is often leafed through for wafts of inspiration or to try and find something new I want to make. Mr Reynauds recipe has hints of juniper berry and port in the mix, I often add one or two extra garlic cloves to it but that depends on how much you like garlic or how strong the garlic you have is. I usually have some fiendishly powerful Spanish garlic which my parents bring back for me. Below is my slightly adapted version. I found the garlic and the juniper berries were lost previously and the bay leaf seems to bring an interesting depth to it. I do tend to go a bit heavy on the port too which is always welcome.
Chicken Liver Parfait with Port and Garlic
2lb chicken livers
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 white onions, finely chopped
4 rashers of streaky bacon
4 juniper berries, crushed
A bay leaf, ripped
A nice glug of port. Around 50ml or so if you need a measurement
300g butter, diced
100g melted butter
A grind or two of black pepper
Soften the garlic and onions, then add the bacon and livers along with the crushed juniper berries and torn bay leaf.
Keep turning the livers so they are seared on all sides, this should take around four minutes.
Find and remove the bay leaf, then tip the contents of the pan into a blender. Deglaze the pan with the port, reduce this for a minute or two until thick and then add this to the blender too. Blend for a few minutes then add the butter; keep blending until it is all smooth with no rogue lumps of butter left.
Pour this into the dish or dishes you want to use, I filled three medium sized tapas dishes, then refrigerate for an hour.
Melt your butter in a a pan over a low heat, leave it to cool.
The parfait won't be runny anymore and when you tip the bowl it shouldn't move at all. Carefully pour over your melted butter and put back in the fridge to set. You've done well, I'd reward myself with the rest of the port if I were you. 'Tis the season and all that.