December brings with it cold winds, hot fireplaces and the spirit of festivities. Kitchens are fired up to prepare for families and friends, houses are filled with people enjoying the holidays and everyone comes together to share each others joy. What better way to bring a smile on people’s faces than through good food. While most tend to concentrate on large lunches and dinners, some shift focus towards canapes and cocktails. Short on time but still want to have people over to rejoice Christmas or simply the holidays, then invite them over for cocktails in the evening or after dinner. Hors de ouevres can be quickly whipped up to excite the palate of your epicure guests. One such December favorite of mine is Liver Pate, a classy and full bodied antipasti, served with melba toasts.
Having been a specialty of my mothers’, I can still remember the smell that would emanate from the kitchen each time that she would make it. Even though she would not cater professionally, but her famous Liver Pate was ordered by many of her friends for their dinner parties. Famous throughout French and Belgian cuisine, Liver Pate can be made with Goose Liver (Foie Gras), Duck Liver, Pork Liver or Chicken Liver. Since my mother used Chicken Liver most of the time, I adopted her recipe, albeit with a twist – cranberry sauce. A combination that is perfect to serve during the holiday and Christmas season.
- 1 kg chicken liver (or any other liver of your choice)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp gelatin
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 3 tbsp cranberry jelly
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Heat oil in a pan and add garlic. Cook till garlic turns light brown
- Add the liver and braise for about 10 minutes till it is completely cooked from the inside and changes color into a darker shade
- Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes till it cools down
- Once cooled, add the liver, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a blender. Blitz till all the ingredients are mixed together, about 2-3 minutes
- Mix the gelatin in hot water and slowly pour into the blender, blitzing after each addition. The mixture should not be too runny otherwise the pate will be too soft, hence stop adding the gelatin before the mixture becomes too thin.
- Once the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain, pour into a tin foil box or a mould with a tight lid
- Flatten the surface of the pate with the back of a spoon and pour a tbsp of olive oil on top of the pate before sealing completely
- Chill in the freezer for about 6 hours till it sets.
- Before serving invert the mould upside down and let the pate slide onto a platter. Let it remain at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving
- For the cranberry sauce: Heat the cranberry jelly in a pan and break it down using a wooden spoon
- Once it starts to bubble, add the orange juice and sugar. Mix well
- Keep stirring till it turns into a sauce like consistency and the sugar melts
- Pour over the pate or serve on the side
Serve the soft pate with crisp melba toasts and a sprinkle of fresh mint leaves. Serve the pate sliced or as a whole. The sweet yet tart cranberry sauce, is the perfect accompaniment to the meaty pate. The red shades of the cranberry sauce will add to the Christmas theme of your evening and the flavors of this cocktail dish will enrich your holiday spirit. Entertain your guests with my mother’s special Pate recipe with a small addition by me.