Turkey Liver Pâté

Pâté has always been a hit or miss for me until I got down and with it’s origins. Most cultures outside of the USA do a great job at using all parts of the animal which you just have to respect. Waste not, want not.

Right after Thanksgiving this year, I had this rather big liver from the our “giving of thanks” (i.e. stuff your face day) and some leftover cranberries. We also had some cognac left over from last year which immediately made me think of pâté.

If you are an omnivore and have an appetite for all things, this is a great recipe for thee. It also speaks to the high society thanks to the early French masters like Marie Antoine Careme and August Escoffier. How better to turn the favor of a bourgeois crowd than a homemade pâté. Decadent, right?

This recipe is adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking:

  • 1 turkey liver
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 medium shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme – strip the leaves, discard the stems
  • 1/8 cup Cognac
  • tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Turkey pâté is not something I eat regularly but having a bit of it out for guests is really quite fun. Your guests will say, “wow what a great idea” and it pairs well with some crisp Pinot Grigio.

  1. Put a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat, and melt the butter until it begins to foam. Add the shallots, and sauté them until translucent, being careful not to allow them to brown. Add the liver, thyme, Cognac, salt, pepper and bring the heat to high. Cook, occasionally stirring the liver around in the pan with a spoon, until the Cognac has reduced and the livers are lightly browned but still very soft and pink on the inside, approximately 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the stove and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the contents into a blender or food processor along with the cream. Purée until smooth, adding a little more cream if necessary.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
  5. Pack the pâté into a glass jar or bowl, then smooth the top with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about two hours or up to five days. Serve with cranberry jam and plenty of toast.

This makes a really great appetizer for your next Thanksgiving feast. You can pull the liver early and make this a day ahead of time.

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