Despite this dish being predominantly chicken liver, I use it as a great excuse to eat butter, and lots of it.
Despite being demonized for decades due to its high saturated fat content, butter is actually very nutrient dense, and can be included guilt-free as part of a well balanced diet.
It is a fantastic source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which is a naturally occurring type of trans fat. Not one to be feared! It is not man-made through nasty and questionable industrialized processes, but instead occurs naturally in the digestive system of ruminants. Butter is also a valuable source of many fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, E, D, and K2. It is yellow in colour due to the carotenoids – the same stuff that makes carrots orange.
Vitamin K2 is known to be protective against heart-disease, and while many plant sources contain the precursor K1, only animal sources have the pre-formed K2 which is far more bio-available, requiring no conversion.
When it comes to butter, grass-fed varieties are always going to be far superior. We’re lucky here in New Zealand – our cattle are reliably grass-fed, so any choice for us is a good choice!
250-300 g organic chicken livers
1/2 c water
2 bay leaves
1 small onion or large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, loosely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6-10 tbsp grass-fed butter, cut into cubes
1. Rinse the chicken livers thoroughly, and place in a pot. Add chopped onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and the water.
2. Turn burner on to high heat until the livers begin to simmer. Turn heat down to medium-low, and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes. I simmered mine for 5 minutes.
3. Turn the heat off, and allow to stand for a further 5 minutes.
4. Remove the bay leaves, and pour the mixture into a strainer to get rid of the excess water. Do not remove the onions and garlic!
5. Place the mixture into a blender, and blend for a few seconds until the mixture goes grainy. Begin to add the butter, one cube at a time, until all the butter is mixed in, and the pate is a smooth, silky consistency. Mix the nutmeg in. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
6. Spread into a shallow pan, and flatten the top with a spatula or knife. You can seal the top by melting a few tablespoons of butter and pouring over the top, or by placing cling film over the top so that it touches the surface of the pate. This stops the pate from browning, and from drying out.
7. Place in the fridge for a few hours, or until set. Serve with vegetables, rice crackers, gluten-free bread, or any other vehicle of your choice. Add a little chutney for an added contrast of sweet and salty.
8. You could easily add many flavours to this by adding any herbs or spices you wanted to. Next, I am going to try dried cranberries and pistachios!
Paleo-ize It!: This is already pretty darned Paleo, but if the milk solids in butter give you trouble, try it with ghee.