Sunday, August 20, 2006

Have a heart? - CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE

I buy free-range chickens from Karen and John Dale at Meacham, Sask. They are delivered to my house cleaned, frozen and bagged. I found it curious that my chickens had a heart and a gizzard, but no liver. So, I asked Karen why there was no liver in my chicken. Well, it turns out that she sells the livers separately, rather than leave them in the chicken for someone who would just toss them out. Smart, I thought, and I ordered two extra pounds of livers. Here’s what I did with them:

CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE
3/4 cup butter
olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup brandy
1 pound chicken livers
small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems

Melt the butter on the stove until it separates. Strain off the yellow clarified butter and throw the milky liquid away.

In a frying pan, warm up enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the onion and garlic, stir and cook until tender. Remove to a bowl. Wipe the frying pan clean with paper towel. Heat some more olive oil and add the chicken livers and thyme. Cook in a single layer, turning as needed, until they are dark on the outside but still pink in the middle. Pour in the brandy and let it sizzle off.

Slide the livers into a blender, add the onions and garlic, pour in the clarified butter, season with salt and pepper – and blend to a smooth purée. Scoop the purée into a fine sieve and press it through the holes. Some solids will be left in the sieve – this should not be put into the mousse, but it’s good to eat nonetheless.

Place the mousse into a bowl or terrine and cover it tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the mousse. This will keep well for at least two weeks in the fridge and, in fact, the flavour improves in a couple of days.

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