Chicken Liver Parfait
While the ingredients are pretty similar the technique is very different to most recipes. This is what works for me and how I’ve been making it for the past few years, you need to be familiar with your oven as that’s the defining factor of this dish.
2 white onions, or equivalent volume in shallots, sliced
Springs of thyme & rosemary
Couple of bay leaves (so much nicer if they’re fresh – you should get yourself a tree)
Red wine, 175ml
(in all honesty so long as though you’ve the red wine and some of the others you’ll be ok, don’t feel the need to buy a bottle of port especially!)
500g chicken livers
500g butter (unsalted)
5 medum eggs
(you can scale this up or down as required, I’m sure you can work it out yourself)
Preheat your oven to around 120 C. Put a tea towel in the bottom of a large oven tray and place 3 regular kilner jars on top of it (remembering to remove the orange rubber seal), boil the kettle.
Take your chicken livers (defrosted thoroughly) and soak in 50-50 milk & water overnight in the fridge, if you’ve forgotten to do this an hour at room temperature is a reasonable substitute.
Using a pan that’s large enough to hold all the ingredients, take the onions/shallots and fry gently in butter until sweet smelling & translucent, add the herbs & peppercorns and continue to cook until just beginning to brown, add the alcohol and turn up the heat until boiling rapidly.
Continue to boil until nearly all the liquid has gone, add the butter. While that’s melting strain the livers and break all the eggs unto a jug.
Once the butter is melted, turn the heat down to low, get your stick blender out and start to blend the flavouring/butter mixture, as you’re doing this add the livers and keep blending. Once this is all smooth add the eggs and blend them in too. Keep doing this over a low heat so the mixture becomes warm (NOT hot) as it’ll take far less time to cook.
Strain the mix through a sieve and then a fine sieve, it’s important to do this double strain to get a lovely smooth texture.
Pour this mix evenly between the kilners and pour boiling water into the tray so it comes up about halfway up the jars.
Bake in the oven for anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes, this comes down to knowing your oven, experience etc. You’re looking for a “just set” wobble. If they appear to be “caking” on top then loosely cover with foil.
Take the jars out, allow to come to room temperature then into the fridge. Once chilled cover the tops with melted butter and store in the fridge.
Once fully set, they’ll last a week or two, best to leave for a few days but that’s up to you.
The picture is by @lottiemoore who’s serving it with French bread & gherkins.