Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pate Maison

This recipe was a real triumph for Safeway, the temple of culinary experimentation. The first ingredient is gizzards and hearts from six to eight chickens, ducks or geese. Well, where to buy these? My daughter suggested I special order them. We happened to be in Middleburg, Va., heart of the chichi horse country, and home of a incredibly high end butcher emporium. Ah, ha, thought I, the perfect place for an ingredient that only people making pates would want. Wrong. Although they had all manner of sumptuous looking meats, they would have to order chicken hearts and gizzards "from their farm." The Middleburg Safeway didn't have them either. By this time, all this talk of gizzards had us punchy, and talking about "chicken lizards," My daughter then broke into a chorus of a children's song that goes "Chicken lips and lizard hips and alligator eyes..."
Then, last night, on my way home from the airport, I stopped at my local Safeway, having basically given up hope of making the Heritage Cookbook recipe and happening to glance into the poultry case I saw...chicken gizzards!!! They were presented in a neat package from Perdue, and labeled Chicken Gizzards and Hearts, (mostly gizzards.) It was not clear to me if the gizzards were packaged whole, so eight hearts and gizzards seemed to be about half a package. When it came to the livers, I counted out eight, then dumped the whole container into the frying pan and fed two to the dog.
This is one of those recipes that should not be undertaken without a food processor.
When we got home, although I had my husband and my brother, newly arrived from Alaska, waiting for dinner, I leapt into action, simmering gizzards and chopping onions. The result is a mildly flavored chicken liver mousse type thing,. I ended up adding salt and pepper a couple of times to give it more flavor.

Pate Maison

Gizzards and hearts from six to eight chickens, ducks or geese
Water or chicken broth
2 onions finely chopped
1/3 cup butter
6 to eight chicken, duck or goose livers
2 tablespoons cognac
2 hard cooked eggs finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Toast triangles

1. Cover the gizzards and hearts with water or broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until tender, about twenty-five minutes. Drain. Chop finely or grind.
2. Saute the onions in one-third cup butter in a heavy skillet until golden and add to the ground giblets. Fry the livers quickly in the skillet, adding more butter if necessary.
3. Chop finely and add to the giblet mixture.
4. Add the cognac, eggs, salt, pepper, thyme, and marjoram. Mix well. Pile into a crock and chill well. Serve with toast triangles.
Makes ten servings.

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