merry-making: day three

A French edition to your Christmas feasting... that utterly lovely butter-rich chicken liver spread: paté.

This one is not too overpowering and just the right hint of herbs, port and onion. Don't be alarmed at the amount of butter needed - it's the way of the French to be liberal with it, and again I remind you gently, butter is good for you. It is fat your body both likes and needs. It is also Christmastime. My twenty-two month old babe eats this on toast that's how moorish it is. I know organ meats aren't to everyone's liking, but I implore any meat-eater to try again. They are  mostly overlooked, nutrient rich sources of protein. This is an especially gentle way to eat liver that even my toddler finds delicious. As a person who does enjoy eating and preparing meat I feel I must be respectful in sourcing and raising animals as much as in minimising wastage of what is harvested. I have much to learn from the French on this matter. And in a strange way, this paté is special to me because the chicken livers I used were a result of what Alex obtained during last week's slaughter of around fifty of the farm's broiler chickens. They humanely killed, drained, gutted and butchered them so that we can have chicken aplenty through the summer months. I count myself blessed to have witnessed some of this process if only just to understand more readily how food comes from pasture into my kitchen.

~ Chicken Liver Paté ~

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small brown onions, chopped

2/3 cup fresh sage, chopped roughly
8 bay leaves

600g fresh, trimmed, free-range chicken livers

1/2 cup tawny port
300g good quality butter, chilled, cubed
**extra clarified butter + fresh thyme for optional topping**

In a large cast-iron or heavy-based fry pan gently sauté onions with butter. A few minutes later add garlic, bay leaves and sage. Next toss in trimmed livers and cook for around 40 seconds. Pour over port and cook for a further minute. Take off heat to cool. Transfer liver mixture into a food processor or bowl (with hand-blender) and blend to a paste, slowly adding into cubes of cold butter until you have combined them thoroughly.  Salt and pepper to taste. Strain through a fine mesh sieve with a wooden spoon to help you along. Divide paté into mason jars (for gifts) or glass/ceramic dishes and set in the fridge until serving. 

Optional - top with clarified butter and sprigs of thyme. To make clarified butter gently heat a quantity of butter until it separates. Carefully pour out the top layer of clear-golden liquid and discard the milky bottom. Place a few sprigs of thyme on top of the paté and cover with clarified butter. Set in fridge. 

This can be stored in the fridge for up to a week (or two weeks with an airtight lid). Enjoy with slices of pear, pickled cucumbers, fresh bread or crackers.