Chicken Liver Mousse
January 4, 2010 § 1 Comment
Chicken livers have rarely excited the average shopper. They don’t look particularly appetizing- soft, slimy dark pink lobes– and most people haven’t the slightest clue what to do with them. I was once, not long ago, one of those people.
I had eaten chicken liver mousse in restaurants a few times and really enjoyed it, but it was always so expensive. $11 for a little ramekin and a few slices of baguette! So when I saw chicken livers at the Pecan Meadows stand at the 14th and U market this summer for a crazy good deal at $2 for a half pound (TWO dollars!), I wondered if I might muster up the skill to make it at home.
As it turns out, it hardly took any mustering at all. In fact, it is embarrassingly easy. So easy that I threw it together at 9:45pm this evening, and I’m one of those people who like to go to bed no later than 10:30pm (yes, I am aware that I’m an old lady at 25).
It’s one of those dishes you can take to a party and seriously impress people, especially if you package it in some adorably chic little jar. Or just stay at home and eat the whole thing yourself. Plus, it is sooo delicious. Even people who turn up their nose at foods that include the word “liver” will love this if they give it a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed. And its hard to say no to a recipe that goes something like “whiz all ingredients in food processor. Pour into container and put in oven. Done.”
Even with local butter and egg, this rather large amount will cost you around $5.
This recipe comes from The Balthazar Cookbook, one of my all-time favorites, especially for French bistro food like this. I will include the full recipe here, but I usually only make half (and it still makes quite a lot).
Chicken Liver Mousse
1/2 lb unsalted butter, melted
1 lb chicken livers
1 large egg
2 tsp salt
Pinch of quatre-épices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice- basically apple pie spice plus clove)
Pinch freshly ground white pepper (or whatever pepper you have, i usually don’t have white)
2 tbsp Cognac (ok, not local. but i have a tiny bottle that I use only for this. you could use local whiskey if you have it.)
Preheat oven to 300.
Put all ingredients except butter into a food processor and blend until smooth, about 20 seconds. While blender is still running, pour in melted butter and continue blending 15 seconds. Pour the mixture into 6 ramekins until 3/4 full. Place ramekins in baking dish and fill with warm water to half the height of the ramekins.
Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. When it is done it will be lightly brown on top and will have puffed up a bit in the middle.
Spread on toasted baguette and enjoy!
*My Note: you can use almost any glass or ceramic container. just something that can go in the oven. sometimes I use one large dish instead of so many- as pictured- just increase cooking time by about 5-7 minutes, or until the top is just browned and cracked.
*Balthazar recommends buttering the ramekins first and then turning the mousse out onto a plate so you have a pretty little plateau of mousse. Personally I can’t be bothered with that kind of formality and prefer to leave it in the ramekin or jar. It keeps much easier this way as well. A good (and traditional) way of keeping the mousse is to, once the mousse is out of the oven, melt some butter and pour it over the top until it completely covers the mousse and you have a thick layer. Once it cools it will form a nice smooth shell on top. The fat will keep the air out, and covers up the admittedly unattractive top of the mousse (though the inside is very pretty and pink!).