First Attempt: Chicken Liver Mousse
*Moving to Oregon: 15 days*
One of my favorite restaurants in Philly, Stephen Starr’s Parc, has this amazing chicken liver parfait on the menu. It is phenomenal and I have licked the ramekin clean on more than one occasion. Now before you turn up your nose and squeal “eww” the way some of my friends do, please give it a chance. In addition to being super cheap (like 2 lbs for $1.96 cheap), chicken liver is packed with protein, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin B-12.
While there is milk in the recipe, it is only used to soften the livers and will then be discarded. There is, however, quite a bit of butter in this recipe. I do occasionally eat dairy and don’t feel that it has any serious effect on my progress (see: keto), but if you want to reserve this for Cheat Day or a special occasion that’s great too.
1 lb chicken livers, cleaned
4 cups whole milk, halved
2 shallots or 1/3 onion, finely chopped
1.5 tbsp brandy or cognac
4 sticks unsalted grass-fed butter, room temperature
3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, removed from stem
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Rinse livers with cold water several times until water runs clear. Using a sharp knife, remove the connective veins (the white stuff) and discard. In a large bowl or zip-lock bag, cover the livers with 2 cups of whole milk, cover or zip shut, and allow to “marinate” in the fridge for two hours. Drain, discard the milk, cover with remaining 2 cups of milk, and refrigerate again for two more hours (or overnight). When ready to cook the livers, drain the milk and rinse gently with cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large non-stick skillet. Add shallots and thyme and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until shallots are soft. Add an additional 1 tbsp of butter, increase heat to medium, and add the chicken livers. Cook livers, about 2 minutes per side, until they are firm but still pink inside (not bloody). Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove just the livers to a separate bowl or to the bowl of the food processor. To the skillet add about 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of brandy/cognac (all I had was Maker’s Mark but still turned out great), increase heat to medium-high and let mixture reduce by about half then add all skillet contents to the livers.
Add the liver and reduced butter-brandy mixture to the bowl of the food processor and purée until smooth. With processor running, add butter 1 tbsp at a time until all remaining butter has been incorporated. Set your strainer or cheese cloth over a medium-sized mixing bowl (if using a cheese cloth like I did, fold it so you can strain through four layers at once and secure it with a rubber band). Slowly pour the liver mixture through the cheese cloth or strainer in batches, using a rubber spatula to work it through. Once you have worked all the mixture through, pour into small jars or containers (I would recommend using something “cute” that you would want to serve it in, because once it sets you won’t really be able to get it out in one piece). I used a glass container for serving, and the poured the extra into another small container for myself. Garnish with thyme sprig (optional). Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Your chicken liver mousse will hold up to 10 days… if you can make it last that long. Enjoy!