In spite of the prevailing trends, traditional (read: decadent) dishes continue to anchor our holiday dinner tables, from Thanksgiving right on through New Year’s Day. The likes of stuffing and any kind of casserole almost sound foreign in our modern vocabulary. Yet, the thought of bellying up and not reaching for one or the other (and then, instinctively, the gravy boat) would be downright sacrilegious. In that vein, we’re offering up a dish for your consideration that may not be as familiar but should fit in quite nicely with your rotation. If we’re going to indulge, why hold back?
Recipe + photography by Yelena Strokin
Chicken Liver Pâté with Red Wine and Cranberry Jelly
FOR THE PÂTÉ
3 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
4 tbsps. unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
5-6 white button mushrooms, sliced
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 lb. fresh chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed
2 tbsps. dry Marsala wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
FOR THE JELLY
1 cup red wine
½ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2-3 tbsps. sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Zest from half a lemon
1 tsp. gelatin
1 baguette, cut into inch-thick slices
To make the jelly
In a small saucepan over a medium heat, mix together the red wine and cranberries and let them simmer for 10 minutes. Then, add the sugar, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest and mix well. Add the gelatin next and stir until it dissolves.
Turn the heat off and let the mixture sit for a minute or two. Then, carefully strain it through a fine sieve into another pot, where it will sit and cool.
To make the pâté
In a large frying pan over a medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and mushrooms and sauté them until they soften, about five minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook until it becomes lightly fragrant, about two minutes.
Add the chicken livers next, season with salt and stir to coat them in the olive oil. Then, add the Marsala wine and allow the alcohol to cook down, about three minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, occasionally—and gently—turning the livers until they achieve a rich brown on the outside and a light pink on the inside, eight to 10 minutes.
At that point, allow the livers to cool slightly. Then, using a food processor, blend them until they reach the consistency of a thick paste. Blend in the butter next until it completely dissolves into the paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the pâté among small glasses. Reserve the last quarter of the glass for the jelly. Once you’ve topped them off, stick the glasses in the refrigerator so the jelly can set.
To serve, simply slather the baguette slices—toast them lightly first—with generous portions of the pâté, making sure to get a good dose of the jelly on there, too.
Yelena Strokin is a Newtown-based food stylist and photographer and the founder of the blog Cooking Melangery.