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Country-Style Chicken Liver Mousse
2 h 30 m
“What makes this chicken liver mousse so special is its coarse texture and use of very little fat. Most recipes for liver mousse made from cooked chicken livers contain copious amounts of butter or other fats for a moist and creamy texture. This version gets moisture, flavor and texture from onions, shallots and apple. For best results, do not overcook the chicken livers, which should be pink on the interior. Serve with mustard and crackers or toasted bread.”
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fresh chicken livers (see Note), patted dry
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
1 pound onions (3-4 medium), cut into 1-inch chunks
½ cup coarsely chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tart apple, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
⅓ cup brandy
10 fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1Heat oil in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken livers and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook until beginning to brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over using tongs and sprinkle with another ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and pinch of nutmeg. Cook until the livers are firm to the touch and pink on the inside when cut into, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl with the tongs (leave any remaining oil in the pan), cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
2Meanwhile, add onions, shallots and garlic to the pan. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browning and beginning to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in apple, brandy, sage and thyme and scrape up any browned bits. Cover and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and the apple is beginning to break down, 6 to 8 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3Spoon the cooled livers and any juices into a food processor; pulse several times until the livers are coarsely chopped (individual pieces should be about ¼ inch). Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the onion mixture to the food processor and pulse to coarsely chop until it resembles cooked oatmeal. Transfer to the bowl and stir the liver and onions to form a lumpy, homogenous paste. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, or more to taste. Spoon the liver mousse into a deep bowl just large enough to hold it. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Note: Look for fresh chicken livers that have not been previously frozen. Previously frozen livers exude more liquid when cooking so they don't brown properly, which results in watery, less pleasant texture for the mousse.