Friday, January 30, 2015

Chicken Liver and Fig Terrine

Tender - just pink - chicken livers, red wine, cognac and sweet dried black mission figs are blended to make a delicious terrine. Serve it with sliced baguette, toast or crackers. 

Just because a get-together is meant to celebrate a football game or another sporting event, that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little sophistication to the menu. These little pots of chicken liver terrine (although, dear God, don’t call it that if you are feeding a picky crowd!) would be the perfect addition to your party table. They can be made a couple of days ahead.  Keep them well chilled and covered with a thin layer of melted butter or even duck fat, if you have some on hand.

I married a sports buff who was raised playing football (but in his case, read: soccer) but he also enjoys golf, tennis and American football. Even his very English father indulged, watching college and pro football while living in Freeport, Bahamas. I’ve already told the story of how I met the in-laws, so I’ll just say that finding out that my father-in-law enjoyed watching American football was another large surprise. I figured him for a cricket man with his posh English accent. But I can tell you this, he would have loved this terrine, no matter what the sport it accompanied. And his son is also a big fan.

Now, the way I understand it, a terrine is usually chunkier than a pâté. While the base of this is quite smooth, the mission figs are chunky so I guess this qualifies. This recipe is slightly adapted from the cookbook, Chocolate & Zucchini.  (<affiliate link)

1/3 cup or 80ml red wine
4 tablespoons or 40ml cognac
1 lb or 450g chicken livers
1 small onion
1 large clove garlic
8 dried black mission figs
Olive oil
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme plus extra to garnish
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon flakey sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh grown black pepper
1/2 cup or 115g unsalted butter, chilled

For preservation and decoration:
1/4 – 1/3 cup or 60-75g melted butter or duck fat ,depending on the width of your bowls.
Mixed peppercorns

Clean the chicken livers by pulling of any gristle or fat with a sharp knife and rinse them with cold water in a colander. Allow to drain well.

Put the livers in a bowl and add in the wine and cognac. Stir well and cover with cling film. Leave to marinate for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile mince your onion and garlic and set aside. Cut the stems off of your dried mission figs and soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes.

Pull the leaves off of your thyme and mince them.

Once the marinading time is up, drain the livers but save the marinade.

Put a healthy drizzle of olive oil in your pan and sauté the onion and garlic until they are translucent.

Add in the drained livers, thyme and bay leaves.  Cook over high heat for just a few minutes, browning the outsides of the liver.

Add in the wine/cognac marinade that you saved.

Cook for a few more minutes, until the liquid has evaporated. The insides of your liver should still be ever so slightly pink.

Tip everything into a food processor and process until smooth, using a rubber spatula to clean down the sides occasionally.

Cut your chilled butter into small cubes and add them to the liver. Process to blend.

When you have a smooth paste, add in the figs and processor briefly. You want them well mixed in but with small chunks still visible.

Tip the mixture into your serving vessels and smooth the top. I chose two smaller bowls because I was transporting them to another city by car, but you can put it all into one larger vessel, if desired.

Put one small sprig of thyme on top for decoration. Melt your butter or duck fat and pour it carefully on top of the terrine to keep it from drying out and turning dark.

Sprinkle on a few whole peppercorns, if desired.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


And no matter which your team or tournament, may your favorite win!

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