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what a long, long trip it’s been.

September 4, 2013

the boy & i were in vermont for an extra-long trip this summer & it was grand – sweet days with family & friends, rumbling summer thunderstorms, dirt roads & cool swimming holes.  one foggy morning, eight of us slaughtered twenty-six chickens & that afternoon i made this pâté .  the livers, with a few other ingredients, come together into a rich, velvety spread that is the perfect compliment to a strong cocktail.  i decided to lead with this chicken liver pâté  because it embodies much of what i love about my vermont-eating life – cooking & eating food that is raised or grown outside of the kitchen door.  it is simple, satisfying & perfect for a gathering of friends.

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chicken liver pâté  (makes 3 medium / 6 small ramekins)
adapted from food & wine 
1 lb chicken livers, well-trimmed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed & peeled
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 C water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 tsp. cognac or scotch whisky
ground pepper to taste

combine the chicken livers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme & salt in a medium sauce pan; add the water and bring to a simmer.  cover, reduce heat to low & cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are barely pink inside, about 3 minutes.  remove from the heat & let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

discard the bay leaf.  using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers, onion & garlic to a food processor; process until coarsely pureed.  with the machine on, add the butter, 2 T at a time, until incorporated.  add the cognac, season with salt and pepper & process until completely smooth.  scrape the pâté into ramekins. press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm.  serve chilled.

make ahead – the pâté can be covered with a thin layer of melted butter, then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.
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