Come to my house on a Sunday and it is almost certain that I will cook or bake something. Most of the time, the dishes I prepare end up in this column or on the food page. Sometimes I just make something for dinner or as part of another meal. (My husband now specifically asks what is being photographed and what can be eaten without consequences.) This Sunday was no exception and the efforts of my baking and cooking were varied.
I started by making a green bean galette and then switched to baking. I put two more loaves of double chocolate zucchini bread on top and then switched back to the boil, making ribs of lamb in a honey and wine marinade, which I served with green beans and rice for dinner.
But what took the most time and attention was a chicken liver mousse, which is part of a larger meal I want to try soon – chicken liver ragù rigatoni. I don’t expect anyone in my family to eat this food except me. I’m the only liver lover in my household and I don’t mind if it stays that way.
I buy chicken livers, pound for pound, from our Chicken and Egg CSA at Square Roots Farm in Lanesborough, so I always have at least a pound in the ground floor meat freezer. I usually have it on hand to make chicken liver pate, which is not much different from making the chicken liver mousse called for in the rag.
I followed a slightly different version of the recipe below that I found on the Food Network website. The recipe on Alton Brown’s website requires that the sherry (or brandy) be added before the pan is removed from the stove, while the Food Network requires that after the pan is removed from the stove. While it doesn’t seem like this step is that important, I can assure you that it is. I later found myself reheating the pureed mixture to thicken it. Otherwise, the result was as expected – a rich and fluffy version of a chicken liver pie.
I doubled the recipe so that I could put a lot aside for my pasta dish and also distribute it on crackers as a treat at the end of a long day of cooking and baking.
I’ll let you know how the chicken liver ragù rigatoni turns out.
CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 cups of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped Granny Smith apple
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound chicken liver, cleaned
1/4 teaspoon of ground white pepper
1/4 cup brandy / sherry
1 cup of heavy cream (I used chilled full-fat coconut milk.)
Put butter, onion, apple, thyme and salt in a 3 liter sauce and heat over medium heat. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until the apples and onions are tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove the lid, add the liver and cook until firm but still pink inside, about 5 minutes. Add pepper and brandy and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Put the mixture in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth for about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate for about 1 hour until it cools.
Pour the cream into a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into thirds of the liver mass. Chill for several hours.
Serve on crackers or a crusty bread.