At Our Midsummer’s Eve Table in the Field Dinner in 2018, we served this recipe as a purely Duck Liver Terrine (from our own home-grown ducks, butchered a couple days before) with a variety of grainy crackers and hearty breads and a Light Frisée Salad dressed with a mild vinaigrette.
You can make it with chicken livers and it comes out lovely as well. The Duck Livers may it a bit more buttery and richer. You can also combine the two types of poultry livers.
Organic is Super-Important here – Make sure you use organic chicken livers – they should be a nice purple-brown color. Non-organic livers are a tan color and as detoxifying organs, they are concentrates of chemicals and other nasty things.
I love terrine and paté and believe that liver is a very important and healthy super food. Having high quality and clean livers on hand is a big reason why we raise our own chickens and ducks.
2 quarts water
4-5 stalks of celery (can have leaves on them)
big bunch of fresh parsley
about 4 tbsp ground black pepper
2 pounds or so of organic poultry livers
2-1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of tabasco sauce
4 tbsp of butter, softened
about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
4 tsp of powdered yellow mustard
a small onion
about 2 cloves of garlic
Start by bringing the water to a boil in a large pot. Separate the parsley into two smaller bunches and chop one bunch coarsely.
Once the water is boiling, add the celery, non-chopped parsley, and 3 tbsp of the black pepper. Let simmer for about 5/6 minutes.
A note on parsley: I always feel like I’m cheating when I talk about adding fresh parsley to a recipe. We grow an amazingly flavored parsley that seems to make every recipe shine. It was originally from Italian Heirloom Seeds and we’ve been growing and developing it and saving the seeds for over ten years. We always have plants available at our Plant Sales and this year we will also have seed for sale!
Then add the livers to the water. Note: you don’t need to go crazy with prepping the livers. I simply give them a rinse with water. In many recipes, you are asked to cut sinews and stringy things off the livers, but because we’re processing this up very well, it is simply not necessary.
As they simmer, you will notice some foam gathering on the water. I usually scoop this out and toss it.
After livers have boiled for 10 minutes, drain them. Let them cool a tiny bit just so you can handle them. You do need them quite warm for processing. At this point, I put some of the celery and parsley from the boiling water into the food processor along with 2 tbsp of the butter.
I add about half the livers.
Process and grind these a bit, then add some oil and more livers. Process again until they are moving decently in processor.
Then add the rest of the livers, the other 2 tbsp of butter, and the onion. Add oil as necessary don’t pay a lot of attention to the amount, go with what seems right. Again, process well.
Take the time to open the machine and scrape down the sides and pulse the processor. The difference between a delightful terrine or pate and a weird one is getting the livers very smooth and velvety.
Once your livers are moving well in the processor, add the salt, tabasco, nutmeg, mustard, chopped parsley, and garlic. Don’t be shy about some of these more dramatic spices like nutmeg and tabasco – the liver flavor is very strong and you need these to round out the flavor. Process again – super well – again scraping down the sides and pulsing. You’ll start to found that the mixture is smelling awesome…
Once you’re sure it is smooth and velvety, scoop into a bowl. I’ve tried pouring this into a mold, but have never been thrilled with how it looks… You’ll know you processed it enough if it has a little spring to it as you scoop.
Put in the fridge at least overnight, two days is even better. It just tastes better and better as the flavors get to develop over time.
Great served with course and grainy crackers or a hearty bread. I love it with a bitter greens salad – like frisée and dandelion. Dress the salad with light vinaigrette of Olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It is truly a delightful meal for any season.
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