Come to my house on a Sunday and it’s almost certain I’ll be cooking or baking something. Most times, the dishes I’m making end up in this column or on the food page. Sometimes, I’m just making something for dinner or a part of another meal. (My husband now specifically asks what it being photographed and what can be eaten without consequence.) This Sunday was no exception and the efforts of my baking and cooking were many.
I began by making a green bean galette, then switched over to baking. I put up two more loaves of double chocolate zucchini bread and then switched back to cooking, making lamb ribs with a honey and wine marinade, which I served for dinner with green beans and rice.
But what took most of my time and attention was a chicken liver mousse that is part of a larger meal I’m fixing to try out soon — chicken liver ragù rigatoni. I’m not expecting anyone in my family, but me, to eat this meal. I’m the lone lover of liver in my household, and I don’t mind keeping it that way.
I purchase chicken livers, a pound at a time from our chicken and egg CSA at Square Roots Farm in Lanesborough, so I always have at least a pound in the downstairs meat freezer. I typically have it on hand to make chicken liver pâté, which isn’t much different than making the chicken liver mousse called for in the ragù.
I followed a slightly different version of the recipe below, that I found on the Food Network’s website. The recipe, on Alton Brown’s website calls for the sherry (or brandy) to be added while before removing the pan from the heat, while the Food Network calls for it after the pan is removed from the heat. While it doesn’t seem like that step would be so important, I can assure you that it is. I later found myself reheating the puréed mixture in an effort to thicken it. Otherwise, the result was as expected — a rich and airy version of a chicken liver pâté.
I doubled the recipe, so I had plenty to set aside for my pasta dish, as well as to spread on crackers as a treat at the end of a long day of cooking and baking.
I’ll let you know how the chicken liver ragù rigatoni turns out.
CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound chicken livers, cleaned
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup brandy/sherry
1 cup heavy cream (I used chilled full fat coconut milk.)
Place the butter, onion, apple, thyme and salt into a 3-quart saucier and set over medium heat. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until the apples and onions are softened and are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove the lid, add the livers, and cook until firm, but still pink inside, approximately 5 minutes. Add the pepper and brandy and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a medium mixing bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator until chilled, approximately 1 hour.
Place the heavy cream into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold the heavy cream into the liver mixture in thirds. Chill for several hours.
Serve on crackers or a crusty bread.