A Tale Two Pâtés
Chicken Liver Mousse
1lb fresh chicken livers
1 Cup cold unsalted butter
2 small shallots, chopped
4 tbsp brandy
¼ tsp pepper
Pick over the livers, removing the stringy bits. In a large saucepan, melt 1tbsp butter over medium-high heat, add chopped shallots, and sauté about 2 minutes, stirring a few times. Add livers and cook just until they lighten on the outside, a scant minute per side. Pour brandy over livers and tilt pan so the brandy pools in one corner. Ignite brandy, allowing flames to swirl over the pan’s edge. Flambé livers, shaking the pan for about a minute, then immediately transfer livers and brandy into a food processor. (livers will still be undercooked; the hot liquid will finish cooking them.) Add salt, pepper and process until smooth. Press the mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Cover and chill overnight.
In a separate bowl, beat remaining cold butter with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Beat in a quarter of the liver mousse at time, scraping the bowl frequently. Transfer mousse to ½ cup ramekins and chill, covered, until ready to serve. Makes about 2 cups. This recipe originally came from Robert Reynolds and was published in Portland Monthly: November 2008.
Porcini and Pecan Pâté
1 Cup pecans
½ Cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 Cup boiling water
½ lb Portobello mushrooms, stemmed
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tbsp. nutritional yeast
½ fresh lemon, juiced
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp light miso
2 dry-packed sun-dried tomato halves
Put the pecans in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a small heatproof bowl, cover the porcini with the boiling water and let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Rub the porcini to remove grit; transfer them to a small bowl. Reserve the soaking liquid.
Cut the Portobello caps in half and, with a sharp paring knife, trim off the dark gills on the underside of each one. Slice the caps into ¼-inch-thick pieces.
In a bowl, whisk together the tamari, olive oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, rosemary and miso. Add the sliced portobellos and toss to coat thoroughly. Let stand for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
In a small saucepan, combine the soaked porcini and sun-dried tomatoes. Slowly pour in the porcini soaking liquid, stopping before you reach the grit at the boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the tomatoes are tender, about 4 minutes.
Drain the pecans and transfer them to a food processor. With a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini marinated portobelos, and tomatoes to the processor; puree to a coarse paste, adding about 14cup of the porcini cooking liquid. Add a little more of the porcini liquid if the mixture is too thick. Season with salt.