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Classic French chicken liver pate recipe

This chicken liver paté is a French classic – full of flavour and perfect for parties, or simply spread on hot buttered toast
  • Preparation Time

    20 mins

  • Cooking Time

    10 mins

This rich chicken liver pâté recipe is about as classically French as you can get short of taking up smoking Gauloises, and it’s a dish that never fails to win people over. Serve it spread on hot buttered toast with a side of piquant cornichons for crunch and punch and you have yourself a winning light lunch or dinner party starter. 

Like other foods considered old fashioned by some, chicken livers aren’t hugely common an ingredient these days (sadly!), but any good butcher should have them so ask in your local if you plan to take on this buttery, smooth pâté. Invest in a good pâté dish so that once you’ve mastered this recipe, you can try out other pâtés and terrines, like hot smoked salmon pâté. Chicken liver pate is the type of recipe you never regret mastering, so give it a go and enjoy a rich reward.


Remove the pâté from the fridge about 20 minutes prior to serving, to soften slightly. This helps remove the chill from the dish, which deadens the flavours.

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Serves 6-8

Classic French chicken liver pate recipe ingredients

400g (13oz) chicken livers
300g (10oz) butter, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 small brown shallots or ½ onion, finely chopped
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
2tbsp brandy
1/2tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g (1 3/4oz) butter, for topping
  1. Method

    Step 1

    Trim the chicken livers of any stringy sinews, then rinse them and gently pat dry with kitchen paper.

    Step 2

    Melt 30g (1oz) of the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the livers and thyme, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes, or until the livers are coloured on the outside but pink in the centre. Pour in the brandy, cook for an extra 10 seconds, then add the remaining butter and nutmeg to the pan.

    Step 3

    Set aside for a few minutes for the butter to soften, then puree the mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Step 4

    Spoon the pâté into a 750ml (24fl oz) capacity terrine dish and chill. Melt the extra butter and pour a little over the pâté. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before eating. Serve with crusty bread or hot toast.

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