We all know that the best charcuterie in Toronto is found at our stores, but perhaps you’ve been feeling a bit adventurous and would like to try your hand at being your own charcutier?
Chicken Liver Mousse is one of the easiest and tastiest “gateway drugs” into the world of charcuterie. The ingredients are easily sourced, the method is straight-forward, and the results are silky smooth deliciousness on toast. I highly recommend trying this at least once in your life, you won’t be disappointed!
Here is the abridged recipe from my book “Cooking Meat”, found in store and at all great booksellers.
Yield: Makes about four 1-cup jars
1 pound chicken livers
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cold butter, diced, plus 1 Tbsp butter for cooking
1 cup minced shallots
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp chopped thyme
1 bay leaf
½ tsp ground paprika
½ cup brandy
¼ cup rendered chicken schmaltz or duck fat (optional)
- Clean the livers by trimming them of any visible fat, green bits (which would be from the connected gall bladder), or excess membrane. Place the livers in a bowl, cover with the milk, and allow to soak for 1 hour. Discard the milk, rinse the livers well, and dry them completely using a towel. Remove as much moisture as possible so they fry well.
- Season the livers liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add half the livers to the pan and cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked livers to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining livers. Turn down the heat to medium.
- Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the pan, then add the shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and paprika and sweat until the shallots are translucent. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping all the bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook until the brandy is reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Place the chicken livers and shallot mixture in a blender and purée on high speed. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of cold butter, stirring until fully emulsified. Season, if needed. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean measuring jug.
- Have ready four sterilized 1-cup jars with lids. If using, melt the schmaltz (or duck fat) in a pot over low heat.
- Fill each jar three-quarters full with the liver mixture, then spoon 1 Tbsp of the hot fat over each mousse to prevent it from oxidizing. Tightly seal the lids and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop. The mousse will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Note: if not using schmaltz or duck fat, I would apply a layer of plastic wrap to the top of the chilled and set mousse. This will help prevent oxidization.