September 14th, 2013

My Mother's Chicken Liver Pâté

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My mum used to make this pâté all the time for parties when I was a little girl. I'd sneak spoonfuls of it straight out of the fridge, and hastily smooth over the tell-tale cavities to try to disguise the evidence.

My mum's recipe was based on a pâté recipe by a Mrs Beverley Reid for the 1978 Adelaide Children's Hospital Recipe Book. I've adapted it further, and prettied it up with some red and white peppercorns.

I like serving this with medium-cut slices of a good baguette - a thin cracker just doesn't seem substantial enough, somehow. Add a lovely big green salad and that's a simple lunch done with no fuss.

I shot these photos with three kids running around the house and then offered it to them to see what they thought of it. My son and my daughter's friend said "yuck" and refused to try it but my daughter took one bite, wrinkled her brow at the unfamiliar taste and pronounced it "yum." She then ate most of one individual serve, calling for extra bread not once but twice.

If some pâté goes missing from the fridge, I'll know just who to talk to. ;)

My Mother's Chicken Liver Pâté


  • 140 grams butter
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 rashers bacon
  • 650 grams chicken livers, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 6 teaspoons peppercorns, assorted colours


  1. Heat up a fry pan and add butter.
  2. Fry onion, garlic and bacon over medium heat, stirring constantly until softened (3-4 minutes).
  3. Add livers, bay leaf and thyme and then cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through.
  4. Remove bay leaf and then blend until fully combined.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then two tablespoons brandy and process again.
  6. Tip spoonfuls of peppercorn into one large mould or eight individual moulds and then spoon pâté in.
  7. Tap mould(s) gently against kitchen bench to even out surface of pâté and remove air bubbles.
  8. Cover pâté and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving with bread or crackers.


  • Serves 8-10.
  • This recipe will keep happily in the fridge (covered) for up to a week. But you're going to finish it before then.
  • My mum used to serve this pâté in one big pot but I found some great 100ml silicon moulds at my local kitchenware shop and made eight individual serves instead.
  • If you want your pâté to be smooth with no holes or cracks, simply heat up an offset spatula in a mug of hot water and then use it to smooth over the bottom of the pâté before turning it out onto the plate. Once the pâté is on the plate, use the spatula to smooth over and patch up the edges and sides. If I was making this for a client I'd tidy it up but personally, I don't mind the cracks. :)