I finally saw ‘The Conspirator’ on DVD, and while I know that it probably wouldn’t have run for more than a week or two at the most, and to mostly empty houses, it is a film I would most definitely recommend. In some way the film reminded me of ‘Amistaad’… (a young lawyer taking on a seemingly impossible case), and like ‘Amistaad’ a brilliant cast of lead actors turned out amazingly controlled yet heart-wrenching performances.
The film unfortunately wasn’t released in India (I guess because it bombed in the States as well) and if it wasn’t for my cousin who happened to pick it up I would never have seen it either, and would’ve missed out on Robin Wright’s sublimely controlled performance as Mary Surratt, the only woman convicted for her (alleged) role in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
As I just mentioned the film failed miserably at the box office, but then again the box office is merely a measure of popularity and not a gauge by which to measure quality cinema. Do see it if you haven’t and let me know what you think…
So… I’ve been away from blogging for a bit, which means I’ve had a fair amount of catching up to do, and that means catching up with what my fellow bloggers have been up to. For instance Annie, An Unrefined Vegan has a virtual vegan potluck going on (what a treat!), and Ramona from Curry and Comfort has been thrilling everyone with an amazing variety of posts… (that girl is soo amazing)… and then there’s Barbara or Smidge as she’s also known as from Just a Smidgen who baked an exquisite Lemon Meringue Rose Petal Cake that I couldn’t take my eyes off and Carol Anne aka Rock Salt who has made me right on curious about sampling Haggis… whether I finally do or not is another question altogether… but yeah I’m curious. And everyone else across all the other blogs I follow including the amazingly talented Dolly (adollyciousirony) from all about lemon, to my new blog friends, Johnny from Feed the Piglet and Peri from Peri’s Spice Ladle who’ve both nominated me for a Leibster Award apiece… my 3rd and 4th Leibsters respectively, which I promise to pass along soon… but not today. Meanwhile here’s a BIG thank you to Johnny and Peri for their generosity of thought and spirit…
Which brings me to today’s post which is all about liver… chicken liver… chicken liver pâté to be more specific, or as they say en française, ‘Terrine de foies de volaille’.
I love a good pâté, and while pâté de foie gras may have its epicurean admirers and critics alike, I prefer the more subtle and not so fatty terrine de foie de volaille or quite simply chicken liver pâté. I’m also quite fond of duck liver pâté with its rich almost nutty flavour and have sampled a fairly decent pork liver one as well.
Why, I even ate a mushroom pâté once… though I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the liver was located on that baby 😉
But on a more serious note, whenever you mention the word pâté nowadays you’re usually greeted with mixed reviews and responses. But here in India most of the chicken breeders I’ve seen have large barns housing their chickens with feed scattered liberally around. So I guess I can say with a fair degree of certainty that no force feeding was involved in the making of this pâté. What did get involved though was a nice bottle of Remy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac. Some to cook the livers in, and then some more, blended in with the pâté, along with the zest and juice of an orange.
Here’s a list of the ingredients –
850gms chicken livers (this recipe also works for up to 1 kilo of chicken livers)
150gms back bacon
1/3 cup unsalted butter (I used white unsalted butter) (if you eliminate the bacon add another 1/4 cup or so of butter)
1/2 medium sized onion (thinly sliced)
4 small cloves garlic (minced)
1 large sprig marjoram (approx 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves)
2 bay leaves (I used dried but you can use fresh leaves)
1 heaped teaspoon pepper (freshly crushed or milled) + extra if you like
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup cognac or whiskey (and then some…)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt (according to your taste)… I used 1/2 during the cooking process and 1/2 while pulsing the liver in the food processor
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Clean the chicken livers well, removing the sinews, leaving them as whole as possible. Then wash and drain them thoroughly.
Zest and juice one orange.
Meanwhile chop up the bacon. Reserve both the livers and the bacon for later use.
Bring the butter to room temperature, mince the garlic and slice the onion.
In a large pan, toss the bacon with a tablespoon of butter to release its fats and cook till the bacon begins to crisp up, then add the onion and garlic and sauté on low, before adding in the bay leaves, cloves and the marjoram.
Immediately add in the livers and the orange juice and cook the livers for about 4 – 5 minutes, adding in 2 tablespoons of the cognac, till they begin to turn pink on the inside. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and the cloves and allow the livers to cool, covered, for about 8 – 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon lift the livers, bacon, onions, garlic and marjoram out of the pan and into the food processor, and pulse, adding in the rest of the butter, a little at a time along with the rest (plus some ;-)) of the cognac, the orange zest, parsley, pepper and the rest of the salt. Keep pulsing until smooth.
Transfer the pâté into a bowl or into ramekins, cover with cling film, pressing it down onto the surface of the pâté, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours until chilled and set (I prefer letting it sit for at least 24 hours).
I also sliced up some of my Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato, Cheddar and Oat Loaf, toasted it… and served the pâté up along with some lovely home-made wine that my brother had gifted me a month ago.