The week of Thanksgiving I planned on making a root vegetable stew to get in the cozy autumn mood, and decided on chicken livers as the meat. I figured it wouldn't be too different from beef heart stew, or fried beef liver & onions, or fried chicken hearts.
But in a Bob Ross turn of events, a happy little accident resulted -- liver in more of a pate consistency, totally broken down in structure after only stirring it around with a spoon. I did expect it to be falling-apart after 6 hours in the crock pot (what strivers have re-branded as a "slow cooker"). Just didn't think it would be so spreadable.
Given how expensive liver products are, though, I was only too happy to stumble upon the process for making your own at home.
The recipes for liver pate include a bunch of butter mixed in afterward, so this is more like a liver spread or liver salad. No pork, ham, bacon, or other meat either, unlike a proper pate or liverwurst.
Still, I prefer a variety of textures, and some separation of tastes to play off of each other, rather than a homogeneous mash. So if I wanted butter and bacon in the mix, I'd make the liver spread the same way, then slather some butter onto the toast before the spread, and top it off with a few slices of bacon. But if you like the all-in-one pate form, there are plenty of recipes for that as well.
If you're like me and were not raised on liver, its distinctive taste will be too bold and rich by itself, so I included some astringent vegetables like parsnip and celery to cut through the liver-y taste, as well as coating the top of the toast slices with yellow mustard. You could stuff this spread into half-sliced peppers, too -- anything crisp and acidic.
Ever since I discovered the low-carb / paleo / keto thing about 10 years ago, I've always made sure to include liver in my diet. There's no better source for vitamin A, since that's the organ where it's stored. It's so concentrated, you only need a medium slice of liverwurst a day to get all the retinol your body needs.
Now I can finally prepare it at home, without having to regularly eat fried beef liver & onions. Don't know why I never bothered looking up a recipe for pate, guess I always assumed it was a big laborious ordeal because of how expensive it is. But nope! It couldn't be simpler.
It will make a huge amount, though, more than you can consume before it starts to spoil after a week or so. (Speaking of which, store in the fridge with an airtight seal around the entire surface of the mass, whether plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc.) The day before Thanksgiving, I filled a small casserole dish to the brim and gave it to the elderly woman I know next door -- and I still had enough to last about 10 days, with heaping servings every day.
Since this was the first time I made it, and on accident at that, what's below is more of a report of what I did, than a tried and true recipe, in case you want to keep it as simple as I did.
Normally I'd make the base out of a can of diced tomatoes, watered down, then a variety of herbs and spices mixed in. But I was experimenting with sauces out of the jar at the time. And if I'd known I'd be making a spread for toast, I would've minimized carbs by cutting out the rice, which was intended for a stew.
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1.25 lb tub of chicken livers
1 jar tikka masala sauce
Water to fill the sauce jar
1/2 medium turnip
1/2 medium parsnip
1/2 medium yellow onion
2 stalks celery
1/8 to 1/4 lb white rice (did not measure exactly)
Toast, crackers, or pepper halves for serving
Empty sauce into crock pot, watered down with enough water to fill jar
Dice the turnip, parsnip, onion, celery, and add to the pot
Add rice to the pot
Rinse off the livers in a colander, then add them to the pot
Stir everything well
Cook on low for 6 hours
Slice livers apart and stir all around until a paste forms
Let cool for 30 min
Transfer mixture to Pyrex dish (or other hot-to-cold-to-hot dish)
Refrigerate overnight, with mixture covered in plastic wrap or foil
Serve on toast, crackers, pepper halves, etc., with yellow mustard