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Recipe: Chicken Liver Pâté

COVID-19 is impacting how people are grocery shopping, which is having a direct impact on what ingredients are available to make meals at home. A few weeks ago we stopped in at our local Oliver/downtown Save-On Foods on a Sunday to find not only the toilet paper aisle empty, but also some extremely slim pickings in the fresh meat section.

The only meat left in the fresh chicken section were three packages of chicken livers. The fact that so many people had overlooked this iron-packed ingredient made me feel sad for this tasty yet less-than-glamorous cut of meat. Staring at those lonely packages got me thinking – it had been some time since I had whipped up some homemade liver pâté. I suggested the idea to The Spanadian which he immediately supported, so I picked up one of the packages for just a few dollars.

I have always loved pate. As a kid I absolutely loved spreading it on warm toast for breakfast. While other children were coming to school with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I was begging my mom for bread and liver pâté. To this day, pâté and rillettes are my favourite things to have on a charcuterie board.

Not only is liver pate a simple and affordable dish to prepare at home, the ingredients are easy to access, even during the COVID-19 grocery hoarding situation. The not so secret ingredient to smooth as silk pâté is butter, which means you’re supporting not only the Alberta Chicken Producers, but also Alberta Canola as well as Alberta Milk and Dairy Farmers of Canada with this simple recipe.

I topped by chicken liver pâté with black current jam as well as a pear, date and cognac chutney.

Chicken Liver Pâté

2 tbsp canola oil, divided
1/2 small purple onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
450 grams of chicken livers
1/2 cup of butter
2 sprigs of sage, stems removed
1/2 cup brandy (can substitute with cognac or bourbon)
salt to taste
1/4 – 1/2 cup of jelly, jam, or chutney of your liking (such as cranberry, pear, date or fig)


1. In a medium sized pan, heat 1 tbsp of canola oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté til almost soft (at least five minutes); add garlic and sauté for one to two minutes more. Remove onions and garlic to a plate.

2. Over medium heat, add remaining 1 tbsp of canola. Add the chicken livers along with the sage leaves and cook for approximately two – three minutes per side. Livers should still be pink on the inside, if you overcook the pate can be grainy.

3. Crank the heat to high and add the booze of your choice. Simmer for a minute, and then place the liver, sage and any alcohol left in the pan into and blender or food processor. Add in the onions, garlic and butter and blitz until you have a smooth like butter consistency. Salt to taste.

4. Place the pâté in one or more jars or serving dishes and top with jam, jelly, or chutney of your liking that will pair well. Allow the pâté to chill at least one hour in the fridge.

*  Any exposed pâté will oxidize and turn colour slightly. Covering the top of the pâté with the jam will help prevent this. Consume within three days or freeze until ready to enjoy.  Serve with freshly toasted bread, with crackers, or slather on to french bread as the base to a homemade bánh mì.

** If anyone around you is concerned about their butter intake (like olive-oil obsessed Spaniards), don’t let them see you put half a cup of butter into this recipe. I prefer to just feed it to them after it is set and chilled.

*** Interested in an alcohol free substitute – check out the suggestion in the comments from my friend Simone.

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