Lesley Johnston’s Chicken Liver Pâté

In today's review of Tipo (don't miss it, the restaurant, that is, not the review - oh come to think of it, sample both) I expressed surprise that a top chef would be featuring pâté. My, how food snobbery seeps into our bone marrow. Once, of course, it featured on every menu, hence the backlash.

I'm quite partial to retro when it comes to food. There can be great pleasure in reminding oneself why classic dishes became classics in the first place. Liver pâté is one such. It's also very easy to make. L's version is simple and delicious. She hates adding brandy to anything, and no nutmegs are harmed in its making. Do remember to check the seasoning before putting it to set. It may need more salt than you think. When you see the recipe you are reminded why it's not wise to serve the accompanying toast with butter.

As an aside, a cautionary tale when looking at recipes in Imperial measure. I've been using metric ever since I started writing recipes; however, many older books have a halfway semi converted system, which can be dangerous if exact quantities are called for. One well known cook, in the self same recipe, equates 6oz to 175g, but 2oz becomes 50g. To be exact, 1 ounce is 28.375 grams. Some will do the conversion at 1:30. Others specify 1:25. Be careful.

Sourcing chicken livers these days can be a bit tricky. Lesley finds frozen ones are easy to find, and good value.


250g chicken livers, trimmed; 250g unsalted butter; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 2 tbsp brandy or Madeira (optional); s & p.


Reserve about 50g of the butter for coating the end product. In a heavy frying pan, cook the livers with the garlic in about half of the unreserved butter over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked livers to a food processor. If you're going to use booze,  deglaze the pan with the brandy or Madeira and add the liquid to the food processor.

Melt the remainder of the unreserved butter, and pour it over the livers in the blender. Season well with salt and pepper. Blitz until very smooth. Check the seasoning. Transfer into an earthenware pot (or individual ramekins if you prefer). Melt the remaining butter and pour over the surface. Allow to cool then cover and refrigerate. It will improve over a day or two.

1 Comment

  1. Janet Hood on 11th August 2023 at 6:35 pm

    Looks fab we occasionally include streaky bacon cut small fried with chicken livers and whizzed

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