Liver Pate: Relic of the Past or Relish of the Future?

Highland Beef Liver Pate

Those who dined at Duba’s Restaurant (circa 1949 – 2005), were well acquainted with the relish tray which accompanied every meal (along with garlic bread and a soup and salad course, all included in the meal price). The relish tray: an assortment of vegetables, served with spinach dip and a liver pate. In all those years dining at the Family restaurant, the liver pate remained untried. Being a member of the third generation of the Family restaurant, I never saw any of our dining companions touch the stuff. My conclusion: liver pate was old people’s food, good only for making a very realistic-looking doggie-doo sandwich.

But that concept is beginning to change. Since we buy and sell whole beeves, hogs, and lambs, our family is becoming more adventurous (and adept) at utilizing the whole animal. This week’s uncharted culinary waters involved creating a recipe for a Scottish Highland liver pate. Employing Highland beef liver and using Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for a chicken liver pate as a template, I created my own, drawing inspiration from the predominate spice of that traditional Scottish dish: haggis. And it was delicious! My very skeptical wife, once with vegetarian leanings, preferred it to humus. Trying to make it more palatable to our 1 year-old daughter Analise, we gave it to her on crackers; she spit out the crackers after consuming the pate.

Scottish Highland Liver Pate

The Ingredients

3/4 – 1 pound livers of Highland beef, soaked in milk then coarsely chopped

1 stick cold, unsalted butter

1 C. onion, chopped

1 C. mushrooms, chopped

2 t. garlic, minced

1 T. whole corriander

2 bay leaves

1 t. fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. ground black pepper

1/4 C. Scotch (or brandy)

crackers or sliced baguette

The Preparation

1. Soak livers in milk for 6 – 12 hours, then coarsely chop.

2. In a large skillet, melt half of the butter and saute onions, then add the mushrooms until onions are cooked through and translucent.

3. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.

4. Add the beef liver, coriander, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until the livers are pink in the middle.

5. Add the Scotch or brandy and cook until the livers are cooked through, then remove from heat.

6. Discard the bay leaves and process the mixture in a food processor, adding chunks of the remaining butter one at a time and pulsing to blend through.

7. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Place pate in a mold or serving dish, cover, and allow to cool in refrigerator for 6 hours before serving.

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