Honestly, making this recipe was a bit of a stretch for me. As a recovering vegan/vegetarian, I still have trouble handling raw meat, never mind raw livers? That’s a whole new level of food closeness that I wasn’t sure I wanted to have. Which is why (despite the fact that I now really enjoy eating liver pâté) I cringed at the idea of actually preparing it. Would it be viscous, and slippery and gross?
A little. But it also felt very intimate, almost sacred, as if the animals whose livers I was touching were being honored in a way I hadn’t considered before. It is only when we learn to consume the whole animal, without waste, that we can begin to honor the sacrifice of its death. No living being should ever have to die for food without this most basic respect.
Liver pâté is a way to use parts of the animal that are, sadly, usually wasted. But it also happens to be tasty, and very, very nourishing. Which is why it was a part of traditional kitchens for a long time before falling out of favor for a while. Liver is a superfood, really, because its concentration of nutrients is unparalleled. It contains a lot of folate, which makes it a vital food for fertility and pregnancy. Loaded with iron and vitamin B12, it also helps prevent anemia, and supports the thyroid because of its high levels of selenium. Many vitamins are stored within liver: A, D, E, and K, as well as many minerals, such as zinc. Liver is, in other words, a very concentrated source of nutrients.
Having said that, it’s very important to choose livers that come from pasture-raised chickens. Not because livers are detoxifying organs (yes, they help neutralize toxins but they do not actually store them), but because raising animals on pasture simply yields the healthiest animals, and therefore the healthiest meats and organs. The concentration of nutrients in animals that have been raised as nature intended is unparalleled, and something we should be committed to for our well-being.
If you are new to liver, I would recommend trying chicken liver first, as beef liver is very strong in flavor and very gamey, therefore not the best introduction to liver products, in my opinion. For a clean source of chicken livers, check with your local farmer, or consult the Eat Wild website.
If you’d rather not make the pâté, but still want to benefit from eating this nutritional powerhouse, look for clean sources of pre-made liver pâté. They can be difficult to find, but are becoming increasingly available. If you live in the Bay area, Three Stone Hearth is a wonderful resource – they only use very clean ingredients and make their food fresh, each day, using traditional methods. I highly recommend them (and no, they don’t pay me to say this), and I have been purchasing their chicken liver pâté for a long time, and love it. It’s just that after all these years, I wanted a change, and to try different flavors and ingredients. And so I set about learning to make my own. This is the result. Hope you enjoy…
Pink peppercorns are dried shrub berries from the Brazilian pepper tree. They add a fruity, peppery flavor to dishes, and impart a gorgeous bright pink color, as well. Add them to salads, vegetables, meats, or anywhere that you would like a bright and peppery flavor. Since they are fragile and much oilier than black peppercorns, pink peppercorns cannot be ground in a traditional pepper mill, but must be ground in a mortar and pestle, or with a knife instead. Warning: as members of the cashew family, pink peppercorns can trigger strong allergic reactions in people with tree nut allergies. In large quantities, it appears that they can also cause toxic reactions in some people. Consult with your doctor before consuming pink peppercorns.
Do you make liver pâté? How do you prepare yours? Please share in the comment box below.
Love and health!
Herbed Chicken Liver Pâté
Servings: makes about 1 cup
1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil
1/4 yellow onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb chicken livers, rinsed, dried, white connective tissue trimmed
1 kale leaf, de-stemmed, roughly chopped
a few flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 sage leaves
leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
3 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
2 tablespoons ghee (or butter)
Preheat a small sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 1 teaspoon ghee (or coconut oil) and add the onion and garlic with a pinch of sea salt. Cook, stirring often until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken livers to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, until browned and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.
Transfer the livers and onions into a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for 2 tablespoons ghee), and process on high until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. You may need to stop and scrape the sides a few times. Transfer to a small glass jar.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee (or butter) gently and add to the top of the pâté. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Serve with fresh bread, apple slices, raw vegetables or crackers.