History of pâté is rooted in the distant past and many countries contest the right to be named its birthplace, however, by default this right is held by France. In truth, French chefs have simply revived the dish loved by ancient Romans. Interestingly enough, in medieval times, pates were served as feast culmination, and hence were decorated in the most luxurious fashion, often made with “surprise” inside, when live birds could fly out from inside of the dish brought into the feast hall. Often pâtés were cooked wrapped in the layer of dough, like pies. Dough was simply a wrapper and secondary to the stuffing, hence word “pâté” has started being used only for what was inside of such pies.
In Russia pâté is very popular and served on any festive table. I would like to present my own recipe unique in its use of wine jelly. This Chicken Liver Pâté With Red Wine & Cranberry Jelly is great for your holiday table to be served with hot toasts. Bon appetite!
For more Russian recipes, visit Russian Cuisine page.
Serves: about 4
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled, chopped
- 5-6 white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1 lb. (450 g) fresh chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp. dry Marsala or other dry wine
For the jelly:
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup fresh of frozen cranberries
- 2-3 Tbsp. sugar (or more if you like it sweet)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp gelatin
- 1 baguette, thinly sliced
To make the cranberry and red wine jelly: In a small saucepan mix together red wine and cranberries. Turn on heat to medium and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar and spices, mix well. Add in gelatin and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Turn off heat and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Carefully strain the sauce through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the cranberry solids. Let it cool down.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until lightly fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken livers, season with salt and stir to coat with the oil. Then add the Marsala and let the alcohol bubble away for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered the livers gently, turning occasionally, until they are a deep, rich brown on the outside and tender pink on the inside, 8 to 10 minutes.
Leave the liver to cool slightly. Using a food processor, process the cooked liver until it is a thick paste. Blend in the butter, stirring until it has melted into the pâté. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between appetizer glasses, leave enough space for the jelly, about 1/4 of the glass.
Fill the glasses with the red wine and cranberry jelly. Place the glasses in refrigerator until the jelly is set.
To serve: Spread the baguette slices generously with the chicken pâté, arrange on individual plates and serve with your favorite drinks.