Liver isn’t my favorite thing, but it can be delicious when combined with lots of creamy dairy products. Adding some booze doesn’t hurt either. The chicken liver mousse I made for this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge combines these elements. The video below about the Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn really inspired me.
I watched them make their chicken liver mousse over and over, and it made me hate myself for not eating there when I lived in New York. I was transfixed by the kitchen staff pouring molten pâté mix into the Ball jar to set. When a customer orders one, you just grab it from the fridge, unscrew the lid, and place it on the wooden board beside its accoutrements. It was all so ingenious and…rustic. And its absurd if you think about it because this restaurant is right next to the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of DUMBO. Pretty much the opposite of rustic. It’s an overused branding scheme for sure, but it works on me. I like that aesthetic.
Rustic Chicken Live Mousse with Pistachios
- 1 lb. chicken livers (pasture-raised is best, mine were from Smith & Smith Farms)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 medium shallots, sliced
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of allspice
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted and salted
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, taking care not to burn it. Add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, until they just start to brown. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken livers, the spices (excluding the vanilla), and a large pinch of salt. Cook the liver for about 5 minutes until they are just pink in the middle. Next add the brandy and cook for 3-5 minutes more until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the skillet from heat.
Assemble your food processor and dump the liver mixture into the bowl. With the blade of the processor running, add the cream in a thin stream. Finally stir in the vanilla and taste for more salt. Now you can pass the mixture through a fine sieve to make it extra smooth, or be lazy like me and just pour it into the jars. Cover with the pistachios and place in the refrigerator overnight to set.
Even Dustin, who eats whole heads of raw garlic in one sitting, described this mousse as “strongly flavored,” so I might have gone overboard in the aromatic spices department. We still really enjoyed it with a sparkling rosé, pickled vegetables from the last ATXSwappers event, and two cheeses from Twig Farm, my fave American producer at the moment. I was sure to place the jar on our own rustic wooden board so I could unscrew the cap and admire how beautifully it contrasted with the green pistachios.