A chicken liver parfait takes me straight back to my parents’ late 70’s dinner parties. Ramekins of parfait and melba toast were the first course winter staple-cucumber vichyssoise in the summer. The parfait freezes really well so it is a good idea to split the mixture into two or three vessels and freeze whatever you won’t eat straight away. I always pass the mix through a fine sieve which saves picking all the little sinews out of the raw livers. It gives a deliciously smooth finish to the parfait so don’t skip this stage.
- 340g chicken livers
- 200g slightly salted butter
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 150ml madeira wine
- 3 tablespoons double cream
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- Prep the chicken livers by cutting away the largest sinews but don’t worry too much about removing everything as the parfait is passed through a sieve later. Take a knob of the butter –about 20g- and put in a frying pan. Put the rest of the butter into a small saucepan and melt over a low heat. Set aside.
- Heat the knob of butter and add the shallots to the pan. Cook over a low heat for about 6-8 minutes until the shallots are soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and chicken livers and turn the heat up a little. Cook the livers for about 4-5 minutes, turning them over a few times, until they are no longer bloody but still have a pink tinge inside when cut in half. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor.
- Without wiping the frying pan, place it back on a moderate heat and pour in the madeira wine. Bubble down to reduce the liquid to about 3 tablespoons. Pour over the contents in the food processor. Add the double cream, celery salt, peppercorns and thyme leaves and a good grind of black pepper. Blend to a purée. With the motor running slowly pour in the melted butter. Taste and season again if necessary.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Pour the chicken liver purée into the sieve. Press through the sieve with a plastic or wooden spoon until about a tablespoon of solids remain in the sieve. Pour the smooth parfait into a bowl or individual ramekins – or if you want to turn the parfait out, you can line a small terrine mould with cling film and fill with the parfait. Chill for at least 6-8 hours-preferably overnight.