Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Chicken liver parfaits & best brioche ever

This is one of my favourite things - creamy, almost velvety chicken liver parfait made with a cheap ingredient but almost luxurious. This makes quite elegant (tasty for sure) starter or light lunch, and I definitely recommend a slice or two of brioche to go with this. It has ridiculous amount of butter, almost enough to make you teeth slide on this, but without any doubt this is the best brioche I have made. This recipe by Michel Roux was recommended to my by a friend of mine and after making this brioche I will never look back. I have added some semolina, that did not appear in the original recipe, just to line my tin with something - it is not the best quality equipment so I was little bit concerned that the brioche will not come out easily. The parfaits go well with some cocktail gherkins too.  

Chicken liver parfaits 

Serves 6-10

450g chicken livers, trimmed  
150g butter, plus 50g for the top of the parfaits
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
leaves picked from 2-3 springs of fresh thyme
splash of brandy
2 tbsp double cream ( I used extra thick, 50.5% of fat)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
freshly grated black pepper

Heat about 30g of the butter in a large frying pan and gently fry the shallots until soft. Add garlic, thyme leaves (save about tsp for topping the parfait) fry for about one minute or so and turn the heat up.

Add the trimmed livers to the pan with the garlic, shallot and thyme and fry on both sides for about 5 minutes. There should not be any blood coming out. Add the nutmeg, cloves and a splash of brandy. Keep on the heat until the brandy evaporates little bit. Remove from the heat and set aside. Let them cool down little bit.

Next tip the livers into a food processor and whizz to a paste, then whizz in the remaining butter and cream. Push the mixture through a sieve - this is boring, but takes about 2 minutes and it is certainly worth for a really velvety texture. Season well with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture between 6 small ramekins and smooth the surface.

Melt the final 50g butter in a pan and let the milk solids settle to the bottom. Place the remaining thyme leaves in the pan and let it infuse for few minutes. Next making sure you skip the milk solids pour a little butter over each ramekin. Chill to set.

To serve, bring the parfaits up to room temperature and you have to serve it with toasted slice of best brioche ever.

Best Brioche EVER 

makes small bread tin

35 ml lukewarm milk
7.5 g fresh yeast  (or 3.5g dry active or 4g instant)
250g all purpose flour
half tsp salt
3 eggs
175g soft butter
1 tbsp caster sugar

some more butter, for a tin
some semolina
beaten egg, optionally

Place the yeast and the milk in a mixing bowl and leave them for few minutes. Next mix them with the flour , salt and eggs until you have quite firm, elastic dough.

Meanwhile using a hand mixer beat the sugar with the butter and next add spoon by spoon of this buttery cream to the dough and mix all the time on a low speed. When last spoon of butter dis incorporated  mix for a little while on the higher speed, then cover the dough with a clean cloth and leave it to prove. It will take about 2-4 hours in a room temperature however I left it in the cold kitchen overnight. After first proving remove some air bubbles but do not be tempted to do this with a punch like with most breads - this dough is too sticky. Use spatula to remove some air. At this stage the dough can be moulded to the shape you like (individual brioches or one brioche in a tin).

Prepare the tin - butter is and sprinkle with little semolina, then shake the excess of semolina.  Place the dough in the tin and cover with a cling film. Leave it to prove again - I left mine in a fridge for whole day and removed from a fridge for about one hour before baking. It can be kept in a fridge up to 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 180C (fan). Brush with some beaten egg for a shiny finish. At this stage you can make a cut in the brioche to prevent the cracking, I was afraid that it will collapse when I do so, so I skipped cutting and my brioche did not crack too much. Bake until golden and the wooden toothpick comes out of it clean.

Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for few minutes and then remove it from a tin to a wire rack and leave it to cool down completely before slicing. Toast before serving but be careful - due to a high content of butter it burns easily, so watch the toaster.


  1. I love chicken liver parfaits but, for some reason, I don't make them very often. Thanks for the reminder. Great brioche, too. All I need now is a small glass of sweet wine to go with it.

  2. Thank you, Phil for your kind comment. :) I also don't make them very often, and they seem to be a perfect starter or light lunch when I have many guests around - it is suitable to make ahead, good looking and tasty. :)

    I am rather amazed by one sweet wine that I had in The Kitchin two weeks ago, I am not a big fan of sweet wines, but this was lovely. I imagine it could go well with this pate (as much it would be lovely with foie gras - classic combination with Sauternes).

  3. Might do this as a starter for Christmas dinner. We usually have prawn cocktail, but that's getting a bit boring.

  4. Gary, it is very good idea. I will make some too, not sure if I manage for Christmas but definately for a dinner with friends just after Christmas. :) I did not have prawn coctail for ages!


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