I love Golden Delicious apples. They are sweet and rich. They are also good for using in recipes because they retain their shape when cooked. If you see any at your local farmers market, make sure to get some. The flavor and texture of apples that have been allowed to ripen on the tree is unparalleled to those from the supermarket. Many supermarket apples have been picked under-ripe and have spent weeks in storage. These apples can be bland and have an off texture.
Now that it’s apple season, I’ve been trying to make recipes that celebrate the flavor of apples. I’ve been craving creamy pate, and I can’t think of a better pairing than apples and apple brandy.
This pate is on the sweeter side, creamy and decadent. It will be perfect with cocktails or wine. What’s great is that you can make it a few days ahead, and you can even freeze it. It would make for a perfect appetizer for the holidays.
Chicken Liver Pate with Apples and Calvados
• 6 tablespoons butter, separated
• 2 cups onions, chopped
• 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into large cubes (I used local Golden Delicious apples)
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
• 1 lb chicken livers, cleaned of sinew, rinsed and dried with paper towels
• 1 ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
• ¼ cup Calvados or brandy
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 4 tablespoons clarified butter, melted, optional
• Thyme sprigs for garnish, optional
• Small glass containers with lids for storing pate, optional
1. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium sized cast iron pot or skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and the apples. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the apples and onions start to brown slightly. You want the ingredients to start to caramelize.
2. Add in the garlic, thyme, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and pepper. Then add in the chicken livers and the salt. Cook over medium heat until the chicken livers are cooked but still slightly pink in the center.
3. Add in the Calvados or brandy, and cook on medium heat until about ¼ of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, and transfer the mixture to a food processor. Pulse a few times. Dice the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and add it to the food processor. Pulse 2 or 3 times to incorporate. Add in the 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, and pulse a few more times. I prefer for the pate to have some texture. I like getting little pieces of apple or onion. If you want your pate completely smooth, then process until very smooth. Taste the pate to ensure it has enough salt and pepper, add more to taste if necessary.
4. Pack the pate into clean jars leaving about 1 inch of room at the top of the jar. Place a few sprigs of thyme on top of the pate, and then pour in a couple of tablespoons of melted clarified butter on top. Cover the jars with lids, and place in the refrigerator overnight. The pate will keep for about one week. Pate also freezes well. Makes about 3.5 cups.