There aren’t too many antique stores in St. John’s. I am not complaining. It is a good thing. I would be beyond broke and beyond salvation if I was living in a city filled with antique stores. Ever since I started blogging my hoarding behaviour has taken off. Everything is a potential prop. Everything needs to be saved and kept in my prop room. Yes, prop room. Let’s not talk about that.
On one of my weekend visits, rummaging through mismatched cutlery, I found a butter spade. Completely smitten by its twisted neck and light green ceramic handle, I had to have it, bargain or not. The shop owner (who resembles a forgetful professor) told me it dated from around 1960 and was made of pewter. “I quite like it myself”, he said and (best of all) gave me a deal.
A 1960s prop needs 1960s food. What is more 1960s than the quintessential chicken liver pate? Pair the dish with a 1960s TV drama on a Sunday night and you are all set.
The recipe is a take on Chuck Hughes’ Chicken Liver Pate recipe. Chuck Hughes is one of my favourites. The original version comes with caramelized onion and grated egg topping which I have omitted here in exchange for a port and pepper jelly. I believe the richness of a pate often requires a slight lift with something sweet or tangy to break the heaviness. I love this pate with a jellied top served with a few partridgeberries on the side. The tangy acidity of a partridgeberry is the perfect combination with pate. If you can’t find partridgeberries try fresh red currants or cranberries. And if you want to fancy it up serve with a fruit compote and a few broken walnut pieces as a topper – a nice touch I learned from my visit to Raymonds. Either way, if you are a pate fan you will love the simplicity of this recipe!
Do you prop shop? Are you hoarding in the name of your food blog?
- Fresh Chicken Liver: 1.5 pounds
- Onion: 3 large, thinly sliced
- Carrot: 2 medium sized, boiled
- Egg: 3 boiled and peeled
- Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp
- Ground Black Pepper: 1/4 tsp
- Salt:to taste
- Butter: 1/4 cup
- Port wine:1 cup
- Gelatin:1 and 1/2 tsp
- Water: 2 tbsp
- Wash and clean the livers removing the sinews and any red or dark parts.
- Poach livers for 5 mins in salted water.
- Take off immediately and wash under cold water to reduce over cooking. Drain and keep aside.
- Caramelize the onions in butter over medium low heat until light golden in colour. It usually takes about 20 mins or so. Make sure they don’t burn.
- Place boiled liver, carrots, eggs, caramelized onions, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a food processor and grind to a smooth paste.
- Pack the pate in a shallow serving dish and smooth the top. Keep aside.
- Melt gelatine over 2 tbsp hot water and stir to combine. Bring the port to a simmer, add 1/4 tsp of coarsely ground black pepper and pour gelatine and mix.
- Pour this mixture over the pate to cover entirely. An inch of jelly is preferable.
- Cover and refrigerate and let sit overnight for flavours to develop.
- Enjoy with Melba toasts or crusty bread.