I don't like chicken liver. Not at all. But when cooked up with sinful ingredients such as Cognac and heavy cream that artery clogging offal is a whole other thing. Oh, oui, oiu!
Last night I stuffed myself on Le Pichet’s house gateau au foie de folaille like a foie gras goose. It’s my duty, really, to honor the livers I claim to deplore so much. So I honored, and for good measure, I honored again. Mouthful after delicious mouthful.
Le Pichet is our favorite little French bistro here in Seattle, and they always have their chicken liver terrine on the menu. It’s sprinkled with sel gris and served with fresh baguette, mustards and cornichon.
What more do you need than a good pâte, a fine wine, and Edith Piaff crooning in the background? Not much.
Gâteau au Foie de Volaille
Chicken Liver Terrine
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 C Cognac or other brandy
6 oz chicken livers, trimmed (3/4 cup)
5 large egg yolks
1 C whole milk
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Several bay leaves
Special equipment: a 2 1/2- to 3-cup ovenproof crock or terrine
Accompaniments: crackers or baguette slices; flaky sea salt; cornichons; mustard.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook shallot in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat and carefully add Cognac (use caution; if Cognac ignites, shake skillet), then boil until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and add livers and yolks, then purée until smooth. Add milk, flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice and blend until combined. Pour into crock, skimming off any foam.
Put crock in a larger baking pan and bake in a water bath until mousse is just set and a small sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove from heat and let stand 3 minutes.
Skim froth from butter, then spoon enough clarified butter over mousse to cover its surface, leaving milky solids in bottom of saucepan.
Chill mousse completely, uncovered, about 4 hours. Bring to room temperature about 1 hour before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Gourmet.