How To: Make Your Own Chicken Liver Pâté

Looks like dirt but tastes divine.
Looks like dirt but tastes divine.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

There are few foods that offer as much heme iron per serving as liver and if you suffer from anemia and like this author aspire to do endurance sports, a liverwurst sandwich, crackers and pâté, or liver 'n' onions (once a week or more) can really give you a boost in energy.

Those familiar with luxury offal spreads are aware that pâté is rather pricey and not widely available at mass-market grocery stores. But if you have a food processor and are not averse to handling raw organ meat, you can make large quantities of pâté for shockingly little money.

So much iron for so little moolah.
So much iron for so little moolah.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Step One: Visit your local butcher (if she or he exists) or most supermarkets to buy raw chicken livers. At HEB, a 1 pound plastic container of chicken livers costs about $1. (Yes, they're really that cheap.) This story continues on the next page.  

Many, many livers.
Many, many livers.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Step Two: At home, drain the livers of excess juices and pat them dry with a paper towel. You want to remove as much liquid as possible in preparation for cooking.

Warning: If your household includes two adorable but rambunctious kittens, keep a close watch on your chicken livers lest one or both petite felines purloin livers for their own consumption.

Step Three: In a small to medium-size saucepan, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter on medium heat. Add in livers, some chopped onions, and dust liberally with salt and black pepper. Stop here with the seasoning and your pâté will be hearty, earthy and satisfying albeit a bit monotone in flavor. So, in addition to salt and pepper, consider putting some dill salt, dried rosemary, or garlic powder.

Salt and pepper is all you need but other seasoning welcome.
Salt and pepper is all you need but other seasoning welcome.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Step Four: Cook on medium heat until onions are transparent and livers nicely browned with perhaps a few lingering hints of pink. Remove from heat and dump entire contents of the saucepan (including any lingering juices) into a food processor (or blender, in a pinch). Pulse until thick paste is formed; process more or less time according to how smooth or chunky you prefer your pâté.

Step Five: Spread your pâté on Ritz crackers, crusty french bread, toasted bagels, pita chips, cupcakes...basically any ready and willing carbohydrate surface. You'll sleep like a rock that night and will arise the next morning ready to take on an Ironman. Or just the department meeting.


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