I'm a great devotee of French cuisine and the respect that the French people have for food. So most years my husband and I hold a soirée — either drinks or dinner — for friends on or around the 14th of July. Pâté is our favourite starter as it can be prepared well ahead and even frozen for several months. The origin of pâté is rooted in northern and central European cuisines. In the Middle Ages, it was a staple food for farmers — pâté evolved as an economical and tasty way to use all the animal from head to tail. Today pâté remains a mainstay of the French diet. According to the latest statistics, 68 per cent of French people eat pâté at least once a month.
|2 Tbsp||olive oil|
|1||large onion, diced|
|3 cloves||garlic, crushed|
|1 tsp||dried thyme or mixed herbs|
|500g||chicken livers, washed and dried|
|To taste||salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|200g||cold butter, diced|
|To garnish||generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper|
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- Heat the oil on medium in a large, non-stick frying pan. Sauté the onion, until softened. Add the garlic, herbs and chicken livers and continue to cook for 5 minutes, turning the chicken livers over after 3 minutes.
- Add the brandy, warm through and set alight to burn off the alcohol. Simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated. Season.
- Place the hot mixture in a food processer. With the motor running, slowly add the diced butter, mixing until very smooth. Pour into small ramekins. Smooth the top, then coat with black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Serve as a starter with crusty bread and/or crackers and cornichons.